years ago when I first moved into Michael’s small urban apartment he had 4
plates, 3 bowls and a few mismatched mugs. So I added a set of dinnerware to
the growing list of things we should
buy. He looked confused and said, “There’s just two of us, how many dishes do
we need?” I laughed and thought, typical guy. Not long after, we bought a nice service for
eight...eight of everything -- bowls, dinner plates, salad plates, dessert
plates, cups & saucers. The set filled our kitchen’s minimal cupboard
to bursting, but I knew someday we’d have a house to put it all in. Besides,
what if company came?
My late grandmother was an antiques and collectibles dealer. She taught me the fine art of treasure hunting. She was also a hoarder that taught me the not so fine art of attaching emotional value to every object you own. It can be a pleasant notion, at first; that each item in your home tells a little story. I am by nature a story lover, so the idea of passing down heirlooms and tales that go with them has innate appeal. But other things get passed down sometimes, too. Things like habits and sensibilities that may not be practical, or worse -- can become unhealthy.
She lived alone in a large multilevel dwelling and refused to downsize because it would mean getting rid of too many things. When I previously wrote about her death it was with the mindset that she died where she wanted to, after a long life, in her “beloved” (and stuffed to the rafters) house. That is one way to look at it, but I am not quite so easily reconciled to that today.
Along with anecdotes and recollections, some of my things also tell the story of lost time...time spent searching for items I cannot find in clutter, time spent trying to keep up with cleaning and caring for objects instead of pursuing activities that nourish my creative spirit, not to mention the time and energy used to acquire these things in the first place. Frankly, I’m not sure I can afford to waste that much time. Then again, can anyone?