One thing I like to do in the summer, like is too strong a word. One thing I do in the summer is try to clean out the house a bit and throw things away. I don’t like doing this because it involves making decisions about throwing things away or about where to put the things I decide not to throw away. I do like doing it, because aside from having a much more orderly house–or at least small section of the house–I inevitably stumble across things that I only stumble across when going through my closets.
Some things were easy to decide. Lovely pottery from an ex-friend who decided not to be my friend any more because I’m gay, even though she knew about it for ten years went straight into the trash. That felt good. As did endless dry cleaning bags, photos which only included my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. Lots and lots of sweaters I never wear went into bags for donation (upon approval from my honey.) The dress I gave birth in… the dress I gave birth in? Yeah. That’s going back into the closet. I know. I probably won’t wear it again. But nor will anyone else.
Then there are the treasures. I found this photo of myself at 14 months old, in which I look very very much like my Trucker. I’m even riding something with wheels. I also found a photo of my best friend from high school. It is his first grade portrait for which his mother dressed him in the world’s largest red bow tie and a home-made knit red and blue sweater vest. I immediately sent it off to him via facebook. The photo was tucked into a teeny leather wallet, lined with red velvet, that also contained a four leaf clover once carried by my grandfather. I found a card entitling my grandfather to play golf at Oxford University Golf Club until October 1, 1930. And proof–PROOF– that I did indeed pass the American Red Cross beginner swimming course of instruction on July 23, 1982. I found a copy of a speech sent to me by James Howe, author of Bunnicula and Pinky and Rex. I remember seeing him speak at Teacher’s College and being very upset/inspired that I had not been writing. He also declared to the crowd that he was gay, which seemed brave to me at the time. I still skirt around it sometimes, especially in front of lots of teachers I don’t know. So, I’d written him a letter thanking him for the speech, and for inspiring me to write. He wrote me back, and took the time to print out and sign a copy of the speech. He’s good people. If I throw these things away, how will I ever stumble across them the next time I clean out the closet? Hmmm?
So now here I am. The bottom of my bedroom closet is clean and empty. My front hallway is full of stuff to throw away or donate. Right in front of my closet door is the pile of treasures. Where should I put them?