My basement flooded several months ago, and all the covered totes were carried through the ankle-deep water and placed in a container outside in the yard. It been sitting there, ruminating, …
My basement flooded several months ago, and all the covered totes were carried through the ankle-deep water and placed in a container outside in the yard. It been sitting there, ruminating, until it was opened for inspection on Memorial Day. Because I had been so busy, it was nice to have a holiday off for which my time was unaccounted.
Opening the thick doors was a challenge, and when they were, a basement full of “stuff” towered over my head and confronted me. The first tote contained pictures of my adult children. Francis was seated on his couch with his newborn daughter draped over his shoulder, and sleeping so soundly that it seemed to be a perfectly normal place to be. His shy grin of pride resonated with my heart. A photo of Alejandro, who was born a few years before Izzy and the son of my daughter, Dinora, showed him poking his head up over the top of a portable crib, smiling a toothless smirk. How we enjoyed those first few years of his life when he lived with me and Hubby (“Papa”)! When it came time for them to venture out on their own, I almost wanted to tell Dinora that she could move out, but that Alejandro needed to remain with us. The entire tote was full of pictures of the grandchildren. The frames came in various varieties, but the ones I valued the most were the ones that were handmade, little fingers dipped in paint and glitter glue that had colored the edges.
The next tote contained photographs of our own five children. There was one of Francis, so white skinned and blue eyed at the age of two, cradling an infant Dinora, mahogany brown and scrawny, holding her head close so he could see enough to put the nipple of the bottle into her tiny mouth. That look of concentration, using his extremely limited vision, has served him well throughout his life thus far. Angel, aged three or so, was decked out in an abundance of necklaces and bracelets, so heavy it was a wonder he did not fall over. His shining eyes belied his obvious joy. At the age of about six, Steven, my son obsessed with reptiles, squatted down on his haunches during a family camping trip as he cornered a snake and pretended to be Steve Irwin, the “crocodile hunter”. I was bemused to see another, later photograph of him when he worked at a reptile center. There he was, again squatting down, but this time there was a real, six-foot-long crocodile at his hands, snout wrapped in black tape so as not to snap at the tourists to whom he was providing a demonstration. There was an elementary school graduation picture of Marie, who, characteristically, grinned and flashed the “I Love You” sign.
Farther on through my sorting, a tote of my own childhood memories documented the wonderful life I led as a child. With my dad being super stingy about spending ANY money on such frivolous things as photographs, this tote contained a lot of personal things I had kept in remembrance, such as the smooth stones that had been gathered from the stream next to which we used to camp in New Hampshire, of a picture I had drawn myself of me fishing in the lake in the Adirondacks, humorously catching a fish twice my own size. There was a neatly framed pastel portrait my dad had done for me, with the toothy, goofy grin he always accused me of having.
In the bottom of the tote were pictures of me in high school, at proms, (of which I went to fourteen, always up to be someone’s platonic date if they needed one,) and my senior picture where my very thin and stringy blond hair was fluffed up and pulled around the front of me as though my hair were long and beautiful, (which it was not!)
Another tote contained our wedding memories, pictures from another time and another generation, forty years ago. We got married at Saint Kevin’s Church and had our reception at the Officer’s Club in Quonset, all for $1,000! Looking back at those photos, when we were so young, and naïve, and poor, I am grateful that we are now older, smarter, and not rich in money, but rich in love, with each other, with our children and with our grandchildren.
This was one, amazing, Memorial Day!
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