July 9, 2008

Memory Lane

The summer rains have begun - "Yeah!" Monday it rained most of the day. So I took the day doing more in making Heather's old bedroom my sewing, art/craft, and now "Memory Room". Though the whole house holds memories, Heather's room now has more of my childhood memories.

I had bought and stained awhile back some shelving for the room. So the rainy day was a perfect day to put up the shelves (I still love the denim material I pasted onto her walls). I went through a barrel we moved up to Colorado with, labeled "Mom's Memories". It was fun going through it and walking down memory lane: things my grandma made me when I was a little girl, school year stuff, and on to some things I saved that I made my young kids.

So one shelf holds memorabilia from Austria, where I was born. My dad was overseas, in the military, with after war cleanup and my mom joined him. I have the beautiful scrapbook she made of that time and I recently read through her white ink writings on the black paper. During "The Sound of Music" movie she'd say, "You were there", "We were there", "I've seen that"...

Another shelf holds some of my old doll collection. My Barbie sits in the middle. My grandma made the chair from an opened tuna can - the lid is the back of the chair. It's covered in blue velvet. The Barbie is my second or third. I thought I had saved my old heads, but couldn't find them in the barrel. I had the original first ponytail Barbie they came out with - my aunt Recie bought it for me. The surrounding dolls are old. My grandma gave them to me and made tons of clothes for all my dolls, both sewed and knitted. I saved them all (or I should thank my mom that she saved them for me in the beginning - valuing what I valued).

Of my saved baby dolls, my Thumbelina has remained the best (other than my sister Kelli cutting off some of her hair) - AND it is close to 50 years old! So I went through some of the baby things my grandma had knit for me (I was the first girl grandchild) and had fun dressing Thumbelina in them and now she sits (lays) in Heather's old room, next to a cuddly patchwork dog I made from a tie-dyed sheet I did in a high-school art class.

And I hung some of my tie-dyed and batiked things from high-school. I liked to tie-dye material and see what I saw in it and then India ink details. I went through photos I did in a photography class where we got to play in the darkroom.

I was/am a saver I guess. Heather packed up a lot of her memories and is currently going through them with Bill in their new home in Texas. Since they didn't do the typical dating thing, this is helping them share their stories. And I told her to then throw a bunch of the stuff away! But she just emailed me about enjoying remembering, and even crying over some of the things she's finding.

Travis with his wife Sarah have come the past couple of years and helped us go through all the stored junk in the large space that is now Monte's new office and the garage. We wanted Travis to take whatever was important to him home. We had so much fun with all the remembering and telling stories. "Oh, I remember this ..." And Sarah would laugh over so much of the junk that was truly junk and try and help Monte think clearly and throw some stuff away (Monte's a saver too)!

Dawson will some day have to go through the same process with us. His stuff is still stored in the garage ... and bunk house ... and old ferret house ... and playhouse turned "Dawson's Natural History Museum".

Memories, like stories, are important to us. We've been giving and throwing away more and more stuff, but I'm making sure I capture the memories by taking pictures of them (LOVE this new digital camera era!).

Just a side note in connection to memories and stories - I read about people in nursing homes and the importance of memories. People, even caring family members, might just look at things as junk, but when helping move one into a nursing home care, it's important to ask them about things and see what stories are connected with them. This 'junk', with their memories, often keep the last years of living more 'alive'.
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