03 February 2010

Integrating the past with the present

Before I moved last year the gigantic task of packing my belongings loomed vaguely in the path ahead. As I started tackling that activity, the task loomed even larger; it seemed to block out the sun. I found things I had forgotten from years before stashed away in little pockets of my tiny universe. I threw things away that should have been thrown away years before. I boxed and bagged and lifted and carried. Several times – it was a multi-stage process.

Along the way I decided that the things I took with me to my new residence should have a useful place in my home and in my life. I would prefer not to stow these things away again, unseen, for another 20 years; that just doesn’t make much sense.

So far, so good. The most obvious items of furniture found a home first, that was the first layer of things settled into the house. The second layer was the contents of closets, pantries and drawers – utility items that we would need to access on a regular basis. The third layer was largely visually decorative. Books, pottery, seashells, vases, photos, a collection of items that by themselves, are not necessarily beautiful, but together, form an appealing backdrop for our rooms.

But still, some straggling things remain. Two weeks ago I opened one of the bags that I had placed temporarily at the bottom of a closet and decided to filter through these things and bring them into my daily existence. They were things that belonged to my late father. His college degree, professional engineering certificate, numerous awards, interesting artifacts, memorabilia. Three of the items were already framed, so I hung them immediately and then purchased a few more inexpensive document frames for some of the other honorary certificates.

And today, the box arrived with the sturdy new frames and their crisp white mats. My father was an humble man and did not find much reason to rejoice in his accomplishments. He rejoiced in designing an innovative solution to address the problem at hand. But now, all that remains are the artifacts that point to these successes.

So a portion of these artifacts from his life are now living anew in my home. And I continue to make my way through the stragglers little by little, calling upon imagination, love and inspiration as a guide.


  1. I love the idea of uncovering tangible reminders of our past--and placing them in our present. So often they stay buried...to be discovered just as you did. I might be inspired to go searching for some objects of my own...

  2. Aww, i think that just shows how proud your are of your dad. Something to remember him by. Moving is never fun but then again its a fresh breath of air once you get to your new home.

  3. I would really like some mementos like that of my dad. You're lucky!

  4. I have my own take on tihs coming up in a blog in the near future.