Photographs and memories

by Lorin Michel Friday, June 28, 2013 9:04 PM

I have begun the somewhat arduous task of cleaning out the closet in my office. I say arduous not because it’s necessarily a big closet. Quite the contrary. It’s actually rather a small wardrobe closet. But it is crammed so full that most of the time I can’t quite open it. I have to slide the left door open just enough so that I can snake my hand and arm inside to push up the papers and cardboard and whatever that has fallen, unblocking the rest of the slide-to-open process. On the right side, I have to be equally careful because pushing too much or too quickly might dislodge the carefully overfilled shelves, the ones crowded with years of taxes and car information, empty boxes and old software.

As it was Friday, and blisteringly hot, and since I didn’t want to spend the entire day working and because we’ll be moving soon, it seemed the perfect opportunity to finally tackle something I’ve put off since 1997. Actually, probably since I bought my townhouse in 1992, when I used the closet in the second bedroom to store my paperwork as well as all of the writings I had done since I was a kid. I mentioned this before, when I talked about cleaning out Justin’s closet. His closet, it turns out, was just a pup. Mine is the big kahuna, the mother load, the big dog. Also, the big reveal.

I pushed my desk chair back, pried open the door, and started pulling out piles of junk. Most I could throw away almost immediately as they were very old paper samples, work that I had done in the early 1990s. I made countless trips to the trash can. Today is trash pick-up and we still had some room in the bin. Why let good trash space go to waste?

After I got through the samples, I started finding more personal stuff, things like old greeting cards and notes. And photographs, some from as far back as my first wedding. Somewhere in the closet I suspect I’ll also find the official wedding album. It was in the closet in the townhouse, too, in a box somewhere and when Kevin and I got together and eventually moved to this house, we just moved those boxes without going through them.

There wasn’t any reason to keep these errant photos from a wedding where the marriage didn’t work. The only one I pulled out was of my friend Connie who had made the trip to New Hampshire, where first husband and I got married. She started dating my first husband’s best friend and best man, I think at the wedding, and it’s a cute pic of the two of them. That was 1988. It made me smile. We were all so young, and thin, and the only gray hair I saw was on the grandparents.

In the closet there were at least 15, maybe 20, of the white envelopes that we used to get when we’d drop a roll of film off to get developed. Such a quaint notion, film. Now with everything being digital, we have no new photographs lying around the house. Everything is in our phones, on the computer, on a memory card or a flash drive to be put onto the computer. It’s nice because, when they’re on the phone, we take them with us everywhere. Not nice because I don’t have anything new to put into a frame. I have wonderful pictures of Cooper, for instance, but they’re all digital. I have none around the house. I’ll have to get some printed.

I went through each envelope, finding pictures of Kevin and I when we first started dating, before he had facial hair, when I still had a ton of long curly/wavy hair. Back when we were also still thin. There were lots of pictures of Maguire, from when he was a puppy and then as he was growing but still hadn’t grown into his ears or his legs, when his fur was still blonde. He eventually grew into himself but seeing these old pictures made me remember anew his gentle soul.

There were pictures of Justin when he was little. Many of him posing for the camera, in a police stance, squirt gun held in two hands, nozzle pointed to the sky, dark sunglasses shielding his eyes. Inside. He was fascinated with police work in those days. There were pictures of him with some of his friends when we lived in the townhouse and his best buddies were Megan and Max. There was one photo of the three of the kids, all asleep on the floor of Max’s townhouse, three sippy cups on the coffee table above their heads.

There were pictures from my sister’s wedding, before they had Shawn and Caden; the program from their ceremony. Pictures from their honeymoon. They went on a cruise. First and last time.

There were pictures of my mom when she visited at Thanksgiving one year, pictures of friends who have faded away; pictures of Kevin’s mom who had Alzheimer’s, and of my dad, one of him sitting on the couch in my mother’s house next to my mother’s cat. My dad hated cats, so naturally the cat loved him.

So many memories. I’ve got them all in the memory card known as my brain. But I kept most of the photographs just in case my memory starts to fade. They’re all something to cherish, to celebrate.

Happy weekend all. Live it out loud. 


live out loud

Comments (1) -

6/29/2013 8:52:58 AM #

You may have just inspired me to take a trip to the basement and sort through a similar situation...I dunno....I'll think about it.

Larissa United States

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