Thank you all for your enthusiasm for my recent post about spring cleaning and the significance objects hold. Your responses made me want to inquire about the meaning embedded for you in an item anyone else would throw in the trash or donate. What surprising, strange, or funny thing do you keep, why, and what will you do with it next?
I love this. I wonder if your grandmother had her own story for this item. She must have. I admire and appreciate your attitude that when, or if, your daughter tosses the things, that will be OK. I have an intention of feeling that way about my own stuff, and many days, I do. I was thinking that as writers, stories like this are a treasure trove for detail and adding depth. I put the same question up on Facebook and received fantastic answers like yours. I told my Facebook commenters that I might steal their details if that’s OK with them. Because how could I possibly think these fantastic and perfect mini-stories up? I don’t think I could. I hope they give me permission. I will not steal yours!
I have this metal ashtray stand from my grandmother's house. It has a removable glass plate on the top with an eagle decoration. I wonder if it was some bicentennial thing? It sat in her house next to her rocking chair. She was not a smoker so I have no idea why she had it. She kept nail files in it (the metal ones) and pens to fill out her crossword. It sits beside my writing chair and holds my tea cup and my pens. When she died and all her stuff was divvied up, I didn't get much choice in what I got from her house. There were a lot of grandchildren. I got the ashtray and her ouija board, which is a whole other story. My grandmother seemed to me, at least, to be infinitely kind and patient. She was unconditional love for me growing up and I keep these weird things to remind me that I had that. They're small and don't take up much room, so I'll keep them and then I imagine when I die, my daughter will toss them, which is totally okay.
A simple wooden box crafted for my grandmother by a "classmate" in shop class. She brushed off my inquires as to his name and the circumstances of the gift. I think it was offered to many of us grandkids over the years, but one peek inside the box and back in the closet it went. "Just not ready," she would tell us. Grandma surprised me by sharing intimate details of her life when I was a young women. Little bombs dropped casually in private conversation. But on the subject of the box she was mum. It was one of few possessions that survived the fire that required the interior of her home be gutted and rebuilt.
We lost Grandma a couple of years ago. She had just turned 99. The box? Still in her closet. Now I am it's keeper. The keeper of her girlhood heart.