One does not have hoarder "issues" to struggle with the difficulty of throwing stuff out. Much recent talk here and elsewhere. Last month the struggle with it popped up in so many places I wondered if some invisible teacher's voice had suggested, "Write all you can about why middle class Americans love their stuff."
Because I could not find something, maybe extra copies of my, "Empowering Women," (originally called Women's Studies as Therapy), I suggested a visit to the storage space in our community's basement. Right away it was clear that the cardboard boxes, marked and remarked through our last two moves, needed to be replaced. And reduced.
Remember, and this is the best advice anyone can give you, the aging parent: your children do not want your stuff. It takes a while to accept. Since I was left absolutely nothing by my father--there is art in places around the country, there is the one picture of his mother that I saw 40 years ago and wish I had, there's the pre-Columbian pottery, etc.--my projection was that my kids would surely want our stuff. WRONG.
Let me amend. Our son and his wife selected a few things when we left New York in 2009. On our last visit there last September, I stood in front of this Kiyoshi Saito woodcut in his front hall. How curious that a print purchased in Albuquerque in my first marriage now hung in Tarrytown, New York.
They also chose another Japanese woodcut, the only art my father gave me from several he owned by the artist, Sadao Watanabe. Its Bibical subject including a cross (!) seemed an odd purchase for my father.
There were others I'd rather have had. I'd long thought about selling it, kept it in storage. Now rests above the early 20th century marble-top sideboard, an early furniture purchase, around 1964...little vintage store on west 72nd street. Seeing some of my past in his home feels like continuity.
Our daughter on the other hand is happy to have a set of German or Czech lustreware cannisters from our Baltimore kitchen. The tea container here looks the same style. She resists all else. Though the two wool jackets I knit for her and her brother when children she wanted. Used one for her oldest, not sure what happened later.
What will I keep? Letters from men not my spouse? A few. I had an idea once about a performance called "Letters from Men." My first year back in New York, 1996, I did, "This Artist & Her Hats," for an opening of a fiber art show where I had some work. What was it about hats I mused--the ones worn only to job interviews mid-century and never once I had the job. And about my mother's influence.
Applied Feminism...that's what came to me as I went through photos, workshop notes from the seventies to early nineties...1972 start ing an early Women's Political Caucus chapter in Baltimore. Now I will use this category on my blog to reflect on meaning and future. Beyond talking about it, Applied Feminism is walking the walk. Feet tired sometimes.
"The Talented Tenth", title of notecard created from a photo I found in a Maryland flea market.