How many physical memories do you keep?
The past few days of sorting out and packing up our home has been a slow progress. Some cupboards or wardrobes are quick and easy to sort. But a box of letters, cards and several “family boxes” have been too full of memories.
I knew I’d kept cards when our girls were born, a first outfit, a favourite toy, a few items that the girls had crated at nursery, or in their first years of school. I knew that great Nanna had knitted baby jacket, bootees and mittens but I had forgotten just how tiny there were. I had forgotten notes that they had written to the tooth fairy, official GPO letters that they had received from Santa, random hand made Mother’s and Father’s day cards. There was an empty envelope with an interesting address.
I knew we had school year photos, including a millennium photo of the whole school, (how did they manage to get three hundred and fifty kids to stand still for that?) I had forgotten strips of photo booth pictures.
I’ve kept all their school reports, but reduced the school work that I’m storing. We now have a box for each girl and one shared “family box”.
Some cultures have been based on verbal history, passing memories from generation to generation via stories, fables, songs. Other cultures have relied on written communication, script, pictures, written word. We have a mix but physical things act as an instant visual memory jog. A physical item or image takes your mind on all sorts of mental journeys.
“We don’t remember days, we remember moments.”