Possessions and Memories
This post, more or less, is a continuation of the sorting through stuff at my parents house during my recent visit to New York. The weather had been cold and winter-like, as one would expect for early March, but it’s weather I do not really enjoy. Part of me was missing the Carolina warmth but I trudged on trying to accomplish as much as possible during my stay with my parents.
Why do we buy stuff? Is it to fill a void or is for pure enjoyment? I suppose it can be either or both.
As I mentioned in my previous post, both my parents are savers and collectors. It may actually be a genetic disorder which has been passed down to the next and next generation. Perhaps one day it will show up in ancestry.com. I was trying to be sensitive to their possessions and at the same time, trying to be realistic about the accumulation of items collected and saved for almost sixty years. But, I have learned a very valuable lesson as I think and sort through their things.
People spend their money in different ways. Some like to buy fancy new cars that may or may not speak volumes of the person behind the wheel. That has never been my parents. They have purchased cars that suit them and at times I did not understand. For example, on her fortieth birthday, my dad bought my mom a little MR2-2-seater. At the time, I think I thought she was too old. Now that I’m in my 50’s, I look back and think she was quite young and why not. Good on my dad! However, I have come to realize that the possessions my parents have, usually come with a story.
Most of their purchases involves an experience, a trip, or a journey of sorts. These are not mere objects but treasures that reflect spending time together. Perhaps it was treating each other to something special just because they wanted to. It’s the painting they bought at a flea market upstate New York or a pocket watch from Brimfield Flea Market in Brimfield, Massachusetts or an oil lamp from an antique shop in Vermont. Most of their collections came during a road trip and an adventure. These possessions, that adorn their home, are an offspring of conversations had with strangers as they exchanged life-stories and then they came home with a momentum of what unfolded during their time away from the normal routine of life. There were many road-trips as evident of their many collections.
So their stuff is not just stuff. It’s a tangible product that conjures up a feeling and even an emotion of time spent together while exploring and sharing in mutual interest. It’s important for me to tread cautiously so I don’t erase what’s left of their special moments spent together. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of items that do not fall into this category and merely deserve a new home somewhere else. Sometimes it’s time to share the wealth, so to speak, with someone else. But much of their possessions are worth preserving so they can continue to conjure up memories of their many experiences together.
I’m sure many of you are in this season of life. Tackle it with a dose of humor and grace.
My parents had and have a beautiful life and may there be many more days spent experiencing new discoveries and even a few purchases along the way!