Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Are memories made of this?

Even sorting and emptying the scary cupboard
is a more attractive proposition than
doing the tax return.

No pictures. Too scary.
But let's just say it includes
boxes and boxes of unsorted photographs,
going back to my parents' (black and white)
and grandparents' ( sepia'ed) youth
and covering the whole,
'Am I ready to let go of this?' territory
of my children's births, birthdays, holidays, Christmases,
and school photos.

The albums are in there too, 
because for a while I was on top of the game
and they are big and bad enough,
but so help me, I did giant framed collages too -
the sort that made it look as though I had 
more children than the Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe.

Then there are the ones of me.
Black and white or hand-tinted baby portraits by my
grandpa who was a skilled amateur photographer,
little square prints with a white border,
fuzzy Instamatic family groups,
slightly pinky-orange tinged
skinny me, in long forgotten outfits
in far away places.
Do I throw her out?

So far today I have reduced but not vanquished
the boxes, largely by dint of culling
unidentifiable scenery and people.
And duplicates.
So far, so painless.

The next stage may see me turning to the tax return
for light relief.


  1. I rather envy you all that. I know from my own experience that it's damn hard to let any of it go, but I can promise you that on the other side of the scary stage lies peace and tranquility. Oh, and OK, also the tax return.

  2. I understand your situation. My sister who was custodian of many family records and memorabilia, has just died. Those documents, photos, old jewellery etc have now come to my house. I wonder: why do we keep these things? What sorts of things should be kept "for ever", what should be kept until the person dies, and what should be thrown out very soon? How do we know what unborn generations will want to see?

  3. I think I'd rather face the tax-return..

  4. I scanned loads of mine before I threw them........ and then I worried that those scans might get lost or damaged so made duplicates....... sigh...... it never ends. Get on with that tax return, its such a relief when it is done.

  5. My own scary cupboard is filling daily, as I can't throw out all the cards and pictures my daughters make especially for me. I never knew in my young, ruthless days that love accumulates so much stuff.

  6. I'm cleaning kitchen cupboards with a box on standby for the "give-aways." So far, the kitty occupies the largest amount of space; not that I plan to give her away, she just thinks the somewhat empty box is for her.

  7. I had a good laugh at your last line about turning to the tax return for light somehow feels like a great responsiblity to future generations when we go through and cull our treasures. And as the daughter of an archivist, not to be taken lightly! My mother just sent me an heirloom tablecloth for safekeeping, and now I'm going to have to find acid free tissue and all the rest of it for storage. It might be better to just use the thing and wear it out honestly! I don't think she'd mind.