Thursday, April 21, 2011

Packing Remainders

I have been back in Collingswood taking care of the fine packing. It is easy to haul books, records, and furniture because they are somewhat essential to your life. There are other elements of your life that are packaged in little boxes and put in out of the way places so you can visit them every so often but are not so easy to deal with. It is easy to throw away old records, linens and clothes but it is yet another matter when you surface your baby booties that your mother somehow managed to get out of a country that did not allow her to leave with anything more than three outfits.

I am going through the real elements of my life. My college papers from Occidental college. My original thesis from 1974 and all of its accompanying research and criticisms in French, no less. Some of the early gifts that were given to me by my parents such as a Bell and Howell Super Eight movie camera, projector and screen for high school graduation. I have it all and all the movies I made with them of my family. I sent the projector and the screen to Florida and just discovered the camera. These gifts cost a fortune in 1970 and today the camera is not even worth $10.00 on EBay. Do you know that they still make super eight film. Maybe, no, never mind.

It would be great if I had kids to leave all this crap to but I don't. Even if I did, I doubt they would want it. The meaning of all these things is locked up in my brain and appears to have no importance to anyone else. I also just discovered a collection of Airplane Trading Cards that were published in Chicago and a little research brought out hundreds of others who have similar collections. They are still held together by an old shoe lace ( I can't swear if it is Cuban or not). Mine are slightly different. The front of the card is in English with the color image and plane description. The back of the card is in Spanish with all the statistics. You see mine cards I got in Cuba and it was one of two toys that I was allowed to take out the country. Somehow, I have not thrown them away like I did the ensemble of Robin Hood plastics figures that like toy soldiers used to occupy my childhood play fantasies.

I have a multitude of items that I have carried with me for too long. Not having any siblings I am in charge of this patrimony, but these are not national treasures just my lost youth and infancy which we all have. It is painful to revisit with them and even harder the idea that they are nothing but junk with pentimentos of life.

There are also what appear now as questionable elements in interior design that cost too much money and somehow don't fit in your life anymore. I still have items from a great store in Los Angeles called the Akron that went out of business years and years ago.

I have boxes of my Father's personal items which I got when I went to stop him from committing suicide in Florida and failed. I have the clippings from the newspaper where he appeared as a victim of suicide by cop. I have an evening news video showing him spread out under a sheet in the middle of the street. I have the letters to the lawyer when I pursued suing the hospital and the doctors who released him due to Medicare coverage limitations when he was not of stable mind, depressed over his cancer. Maybe the Republicans should get rid of medicare and their own personal medical program at the same time so they can face the misery and helplessness I faced. My lawyer explained that because he was 80 years old and his life was valued on the remaining expectancy and because no doctor would have spoken up against another it would be a hard case to make or win. I could have ruined myself trying to prevent another such medical neglect but instead I dropped the entire matter and got on with my life. Even if I threw away this box, it is carved in my brain.

Fortunately, I also have my father's Zenith Trans-Oceanic Radio. Father purchased this to keep in touch with life in Cuba. You can imagine how weird it was to be in your living room in Los Angeles listening to all manner of programming from Cuba. Well, it will serve me well as the reception in Tarpon Springs is abysmal. I can barely hear public radio as it is sandwiched in between all manner of Christian broadcasting networks. Needless to say, not a personal preference. Also, I may want to listen to what is going on in Cuba now that I am that much closer.

Limo in a very green garden soon to be full of other colors

Last Saturday I attended a reading group at my UU church in Cherry Hill. The subject was gardening and I had been asked to lead the discussion. I told the organizer that as much as I wanted to do this, I was in transition and was not certain if I would be in Collingswood for the event. I also thought it not fair to give me the honor when I am moving on and there are many other local UUs to handle the task. Luckily, I was here and could attend. When it came time for me to speak I said what I will tell you. Gardening for me is as natural as breathing. It comes to me from as long ago as those booties. It is the only place I know that I can put my mind on hold and instinctually take care of the plants that nurture and delight me. It is also a place that calms me like no other where I can forget the hate and disappointment that I have faced in my life. So when I say to you happy gardening, I mean it!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Rene,
    This sweet, poignant blog entry makes me want to give you a great big hug.
    Let's talk!Soon!!
    Love, Louise