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forty one

I bought sheets today, they are white.  At forty one I trust that they will be washed and bleached enough to not be a humiliation.  Besides, I’ve wanted a white bed for awhile now.

At the foot of the bed is a footlocker my dad made.  He is clever and it opens from the back, so that robbers can’t steal my socks without being equally clever.  I assume you know it held other things awhile ago.

I’m not sure what grabs the most attention when someone first sees it.  Maybe the drapes, my mother-in-law made those for us, but I chose the fabric.  I take full responsibility for that – she tried to make me see the light, honest.  Or maybe it is Chuck – a Halloween 2001 clearance item that I bought so that he could stand next to Frosty & the Soldier at Christmastime in the all-too-brief house in Gurnee.

The more subtle stuff, the clock a grandfather I never met built, the two stained glass pieces (one by my first husband, the other by my mother’s best friend), the statue I was given because I officiated a marriage that made my family bigger, a card from my husband, pictures, Civil War memorabilia from my favorite battle (of course I have one).  Ashes of a dead man.

I shuffled it all around today.

Chuck guards it for me.

Chuck guards me while I sleep.

I have new sheets and deep memories – because I am forty one.

 

I had a near miss with the photographs of the first 5 years of my son’s life the other day.

I’m still mulling over what that means for what I do with those photographs next. There are about 5,000 of them (obviously, it is about all of my life in those years, but the majority involve him) and some of them are complete crap – but some are perfect.

I didn’t cull them as I took them, I never edited them (because I’m 40 and I missed being a photo-editing-software-knower-hower by about 3.5 years from what I can tell), so they are the digital equivalent of the boxes of print photos I have. A pile without a plan.

I think sometimes about a fire, and losing my printed pictures.
I thought, for a long time, about the passage of time and VHS tapes because that is where the last sounds of my first husband’s voice lived.
I think about software upgrades that build a wall I don’t understand between me and the picture of Jeff with a soccer ball and his eyes glowing in Golden Hour light.

I am both more and less sentimental than I have been at other points in my life. John’s wallet still has a $20 in it after all these years but I only kept one piece of Jeff’s baby clothing.

Pictures though. Pictures are what hold my memory together. They shine so brightly, and highlight days so long gone that sometimes I’m afraid to look at them.

I had a close call with 5 years of digital pictures and right now I just know that I want to do more – but I don’t know what more really looks like.