Monday, May 17, 2010

The stories of objects

During each of the last couple of moves I've helped with, I've found areas of surprise & delight. Themes that keep popping up and bring a smile and giggle each time they do. Giggles that can be shared with the others in the house because the themes are so universal for that particular case. For dear Jenny, it was marveling at the sheer number & variety of her collections :).

At my parents, it was Dad's paystubs. For the past 20 years or so, he would collect his weekly paystub at the store, bring it home, and tuck it away somewhere "safe". We found them EVERYwhere, tucked into drawers, corners, shoeboxes... We took a paper-box of them out to a burn barrel in the backyard and fed them in bit by bit. And still found more.

I find it exciting that even such simple things can generate a story. Mom and I will be able to giggle about this months from now as we recall the move.

My parents move brought a lot more stories to light, especially because we had a little more time to pack than expected... The outfit I wore in kindergarten that our neighbors, the Goebbels had given me. Dad's Boy Scout uniform. Strange things from Danny's closet, like art projects none of us had ever seen before.

I think that's part of where I got my appreciation for story. When we were kids, we moved several times - the longest in one place was 4 years (until the house my parents just moved out of, where they had stayed for 20+). Mom asked this time why it was so much harder than when they had kids to herd and our stuff to deal with. I think the relatively frequent moves forced us to create a system. Each kid had a paper box of their important stuff. Each kid knew their room & stuff. There was a tomato box of pictures. As part of this system, we reviewed the contents of these boxes. We shared the stories of what was in them and why it was moving with us. All very informal, of course, and I probably see more of a pattern than my brothers might.

But I appreciate it, these stories of objects - important and trivial - in our lives. I'm adding them to the pile of story types that I want to explore further.

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