Just two days ago I visited Arnold's Park, a park that survived two attempts at closing it AND a tornado. So when we returned home yesterday to a basement with at least six inches of water, it made me think about salvaging what matters.
i cleaned up around 300 45 records I had collected for ten years, starting when I was 8. My first single was "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" by Bette Midler. I bought it at Stewart's 5 & 10 for 79 cents. I amassed a huge collection of 45s which I bought with my allowance money, all meticulously catalogued and saved in groovy vintage 45 cases, five of them. When I found them in the basement, the boxes were the consistency of Cream of Wheat.
I numbly walked through the carnage, attempting to salvage this Fisher Price toy, that vintage game. What hurt and hit the most were the diaries, the two I held onto since 1981. In one, I wrote about the death of Jon Lennon, December 8, 1980. I was able to show this entry to Ben, its letters faded to powdery blue, before I threw it away.
But when you lose a photo of someone you lost int he flesh, it's like losing them all over again.
My mom's photo, a glamorous shot from the late 1940s, peeked out of one box. This became too much for me to handle. I pulled out my parents' candid wedding album and Ben helped me salvage the precious photos. I cried so hard, my shorts were wet, tears streaming and plopping onto my lap.
It's Friday morning now. I've gone through more waterlogged Christmas soft goods (tablecloths, tree skirt, stuffed toys - all salvageable) and found more paper ephemera, these items from my parents, probably form their honeymoon.
It's one thing to lose the childhood treasures. It's another thing to lose things that were treasured for decades before you were born.
I'm doing my best, Mom. I truly am.
And I get the feeling she's actually proud of my hard work. And she's relieved that, besides these material losses, Ben and I are fine.
I think when you become an angel, you get a better grip on what truly matters.