From time to time we’ve talked downsizing, not necessarily property-wise, (although this has been discussed, and rejected, on occasion), but in terms of possessions. The result of this conversation usually involves Husband taking a variety of items from the loft, loading up the boot of the car and taking a drive to the Council tip. The problem with having a large and easily accessible loft is that people (adult children in particular) see it as a convenient repository for the things that they don’t want in their own home but don’t want to get rid of either. We had just managed to relive ourselves of most of eldest son’s leftovers (just a mattress left – almost new so too good to throw away but how many people have a 4ft bed?) only for my daughter, after fourteen years of living away, to come home for a while, bringing the contents of her adult life.
It’s not only the children though. We are equally culpable. I wonder how many of those items which we hold onto because they ‘might come in useful’ we would actually retain if we had to pay for their storage. And it’s not just potentially useful stuff; until last week our loft also contained a box of things that would be of no use to anyone, but for me it contains some of the most precious things I own. It had been a while since I’d taken a trip down this particular memory lane but oh! was it a lovely one … … …
My dad’s scarf (he died in 1981), and two tiny dresses bought by my mother in Portugal just after my daughter was born 33 years ago..
A prayer book. It belonged initially to my grandfather who was in the airforce. I think this was standard service issue in 1939. He gifted it to my mother in 1944 when she’d have been leaving home then to become an army nurse.
My parents’ wedding album, a letter to me from my grandfather shortly after I was born, and my eldest son’s weight card from the baby clinic..
A drawing by my younger son circa 1992, still a Simpsons fan.
A letter dated 1964 from the Assistant Chief Constable showing that my police officer father had passed his sergeant and inspector exams. And another received after the death of my mother in 2001, from a doctor with whom she had nursed in the 1950s, and whose practice nurse she became some years later.
A reference for my mother, a congratulatory telegram sent to her on my birth, and a card that she sent to me when I was going through the difficulties of divorce.
My 1st and 21st birthday cards from my parents. One from each on my 1st, a joint one for my 21st.
Just a handful of the many handmade cards from my children
These treasures comprise only a few of the items that make up my box of special memories. There are hospital wrist tags and name cards from the births of my children, special letters and drawings, school reports, my parent’s birth, marriage and death certificates and much more – some that brought a smile to my face, and in the case of others, a tear to my eye. I had thought perhaps that I might pare down the contents of my box but I looked, I loved and I remembered. Then I placed each item carefully back in place. I’ll think about this particular aspect of downsizing another day.