Of Times Gone By

A Blog by Gail Cushman

While I was off to Florida last winter enjoying the beach, I had the interior of my house painted and I must say the painter did a bang-up job. I had to remove all the pictures and memorabilia from the walls, and I had plenty. Besides my thimbles, which number over two hundred, I have a few dozen pictures and paintings, and souvenirs that we have had for a lot of years, and I stored them in a closet, more precisely two closets, plus several cardboard boxes. My problem is at least twofold. Maybe three.

On the one hand, I don’t really miss them, and am enjoying the cheerfulness of my new paint job. On the other hand, the memorabilia define who I am, a map of my past. I have a couple picture-hanging kits, but I’m not very good with a hammer and nails and I hate the idea of punching holes in my beautiful, freshly painted walls, but even more loathsome is the idea of leaving the memorabilia in my closet and when winter arrives, I will have no room for coats and hats and other winter stuff.

My cousin, Joan, who is an accomplished artist with an eye that notices things, has kindly offered to help me to move my treasures from the closet onto a wall but I keep putting her off. She always benevolently says, “When you are ready,” as if I am able to decide about this problem. If I hang my own pictures, my house will look like a Guernica, the Picasso painting about war. If she decorates my walls, it will look like an art gallery and people might even pay an entry fee to come in and view my lovely home. That would be a plus.

Another issue is the whole philosophic concept of the past versus future. I’m kinda at a crossroads. When Tom passed away, my life changed, and I don’t see that hanging on to the past is relevant or healthy, and my future is a blank sheet of music. So maybe leaving my stuff in boxes in the closet is good, even a step forward, allowing myself to be wide open to new and adventurous things and relationships.

Tom collected ball caps and I have a large cupboard filled with them. They range from John Deere to Ushuaia (it’s a small town in the southern part of Argentina). My grandkids have taken a few of the caps, but I still have enough to start my own cap shop in the mall. Thimbles are a wise thing to collect, small and cheap to buy, but they too are getting out of control.

Before I left on my trip, I disposed of many collectable items, for example, my wine glasses made from San Miguel beer bottles during the Viet Nam conflict, a dozen or so worn-out American flags, and my one-handed glove collection, but I think it’s time to decide on the rest.

I have great memories of times gone by and don’t need daily reminders of them. And now, I am open to a new page in my life’s book, and plan to fill it with gusto. Maybe I should start a new collection?

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