Drownin’ Here

I spent two whole days cleaning out the hall closet, and what did it do for me really but make me see how ridiculously thin I was back when that green leather coat was new? (How did we survive the fashions of the 70s with the super-tight waists? How did we breathe even ?

But what I really want to say here is you’re right, you are so right, all you wise souls who posted comments yesterday noting that the less you have, the lighter your burden. Because I also worked all weekend in the dining room which you see as it looked on Friday. Just try having Thanksgiving around six lamps and a world of wicker! The outside of the house is being painted – the screened in porch too – and everything has been in chaos for the last five weeks. If my camera had a wide-angle lens you could also see the box of human bones, a story for another time.

BUT! Less than 12 hours after the painters were done with the screened-in porch I had carried every last lamp, footstool and table back out there.

Single-handedly ’cause Dave was away.

Then I dug out my grandmother’s pale frail china from 1903 and her brittle little goblets. I found the pickle forks and the celery dish, unearthed and re-washed the tablecloth, and the tablecloth that goes over the tablecloth and ironed all 80 yards of both of them.

Now I’m turning to my mom’s wedding silver, which of course has gone goldenrod yellow with the passage of time and needed to be polished the old fashioned way (with the stuff that turns your hands black that means), then thoroughly washed, then dried with a linen towel and polished some more etc etc.

And the whole time all I could think was how appalled a guy like Henry Thoreau would be, who said Simplify! simplify!

How appalled Khalil Gibran would be who said Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast.

This place isn’t even an anchor; it’s the Titanic and maybe it’s going down!

“Jaaaaack! Jaaaack! That’s me as Kate Winslet.

Or maybe we’re that old couple who stayed in their stateroom, hugging in their bed ‘til the last.

Anyway I’m not really complaining; I love the old things, the Limoges given to poor Grandmother Carrie, who died in her 32nd year.

I practically put her soup bowls to my ear and listen to them, just as if they were sea shells.

And you know what? Sometimes, sometimes, I think I actually hear things.


6 thoughts on “Drownin’ Here

  1. Aw, I’d written a reply and hit the wrong key on my weird laptop which somehow sends me back a few “pages”. I think it only does it when it thinks I’m “talking too much”.

    Anyhow, in bringing down my “winter stuff” (which ever quite made it to it’s summer resting spot in the first place), I too discovered that I have 5 beautiful RIGHT HAND black leather gloves! So we can’t even swap to make a few pair! But one thing that has been an increasing issue to me is my sock problem: too many singles, and not necessarily enough money to buy new ones.

    Due to some funky spinal alignment I’ve had my entire life, I pound very hard when I walk. I was a tiny person until I was 15: never supposed to reach 5′, 80-ish pounds, but, I was solid muscle. What was strange was that people, even kids my own age (although I always and STILL look *considerably* younger) liked to pick me up, as though I was a toddler. I’d try to warn them that I was heavy but they couldn’t or wouldn’t believe it. Then they’d nonchalantly put me down, unwilling to admit how heavy (dense?) I really was. But truly, how weird is that, an 8th grader being picked up like a toddler by other 8th graders (and even younger and older people), as though I were their toy! It’s like I was irresistable, and honest and truly, aside from being tiny I was NOT cute!

    At 15 I grew over 8 inches and 65 pounds and that ended that! But as that tiny thing, when I’d walk or run or do the vault (being a gymnast), whenever I started running indoors, the whole gym (for example) would FREEZE and all heads would turn–even those mid-beam routine—to where that racket was coming from, and be even MORE surprised to see it coming from ME, the most diminutive of us all!

    So the socks: I’m obviously very hard on socks. I can only wear them about 4 or 5 times and they get MASSIVE holes at the balls of my feet and sometimes at the heel (I did have a coach once who taught me exercises that aligned everything; for awhile I ran lightly and lithely and even added over a foot to my already impressive long jump! But alas, I don’t remember them and so it’s back to clomping and being my very own herd of elephants).

    I obviously threw out the holiest of socks, but started saving the perfectly good ones. I dunno, I guess I thought I’d do crafts with them; at one time I used to make sock dolls which were a big hit. Who knows, I just couldn’t throw’em out.

    But just recently, and to tie back in to your article, I discovered that unlike gloves, socks aren’t foot specific. So now, instead of 60 single socks (of various exciting and sometimes flamboyant coloring), I have 30 ever changing and exciting PAIRs of socks. Just when I thought I was ahead of the fashion curve with these two mismatched socks, I saw in a catalog that nowadays you BUY pairs of socks intentionally mismatched! Go figure!
    (& btw, I HAVE finally learned and now only buy white or black socks stopping just above my ankle so I can mix and match and toss’em out without fearing the needed15 minutes to find suitable socks, and even then the ankle lines will be JUST a little different and I’ll stress over finding the most matching pair; you can never buy the same type of socks twice in a row; the kind you bought last time have been replaced or improved, so no matter how hard you try, you WILL end up with differing socks…I know, this is pushing our intellectual limits with it’s profundity!)

    But also, in bringing down winter stuff, I found box of pictures, out of which fell a picture of my father at 17 in boot camp during WWII–no one in our family except my mother, obviously, has EVER seen a picture of him from that time. Apparently after my mother died the picture was mixed in with some of her pictures. It wasn’t that he’s embarrassed, because he’s not, and he’s told plenty of stories. He’s very anti-guns and violence but believed it was necessary then and just IS sometimes, but they shouldn’t be glorified. And much as it hurts him, he believes that “the bombs” saved his life, as he was being shipped “over there” at that exact time. I’d guess he never shared the pictures because that part of his life was 20 years before “our family” and he compartmentalized his life; certainly didn’t want to remember or hang pictures on the wall. Ironically, I found it the day before Veteran’s Day 2011.

    Happy Thanksgiving All, and thanks for giving me these opportunities to speak out—being a middle child, though I always HAD plenty to say, I didn’t have opportunity, so I took to my role of flake and goofball, and now am overcompensating with talking to people who don’t (overtly) belittle me. I’ll get the balance right, and thanks for your patience in the meantime!!

  2. Deirdre: I’m consoled, as methinks I ’twere the only soul who’d respond in short story. Yes, the middle one am I also. Hmm. Maybe there is validity to this? Teacher: Shedding-you make me sound reptilian. 🙂 Frank: Henry was not being consistent bit insistent..:) Wishing all Bloggers and Blogettes a Happy Holiday Season! I intend to eat and sleep..and read quietly by the fire.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s