The things they left behind.
As I ate oranges and popcorn for breakfast this morning I looked over in the corner and saw the excellent electric pencil sharpener my friend Lenny gave me almost 32 years ago in exchange for my illustrating his songbook. The sharpener still works as perfectly as it did when it was new, and it reminds me of him every time I use it. It also enchanted my kids, with the wonderful whirring it makes and the perfect points it produces, and now it enchants Menticia.
It got me wondering, what still remains in my life of the men who have passed through it? I guess you could call these my aides-mémoire.
- My grandfather Hodges: I have a Sony radio he gave me in 1971. It was top-of-the line then. Still works. Also, a wooden breadboard, inscribed with a French saying carved in blackletter, from his Canadian mother.
- My dad's father: a dark green corduroy pillow with tucks-and-gathers. He and my grandmother had this design (I have the original McCalls pattern they used, too!!) and my aunt Marian told me the two of them used to sit on the floor together ruching up these pillows. I'm going to try this myself one of these days.
- My dad: a bat-house he made me, with the plans included in case I wanted to make another; a box of wooden Q-tip sticks (from back when Q-tips had wooden shafts) - we built a huge geodesic dome out of these sticks and there are still 1,000s left; the knife he cut our Sunday roasts with (he sharpened it till there was almost nothing left, but it still works); a little gizmo for bending coat hangers into artwork or whatever.
- My first college boyfriend: a 6-page typed treatise on the proper uses of "giving five," with photographic illustrations; a cd of his opera "Green Eggs and Ham;" a tendency to sob any time I hear Rachmaninoff's Variations on a Theme by Paganini.
- My second college boyfriend: rug-burn scars on the backs of my wrists.
- My husband: a copying machine, now 24 years old and still functioning (sort of); two children.
- The bass player: my favorite Imperial-size mug, with fish on it; a violin/viola hanger I can attach to my mic stand. He gave me a toaster, too, but it broke.
- My Belgian buddy: a cassette I made while he instructed me in the correct way to pronounce French (I had to learn 3 hours of French songs in a hurry). "Make that sound with lips like you're kissing," he suggested.
- The guy from Vermont on whom I had an unrequited crush: a great recipe for Szechuan chicken and noodles; a costume I made for the Mardi Gras night we went dancing to the music of Rosie Ledet's Cajun band.
- The surly Georgian I sort of dated for a while: a book of his good, but surly, poetry.
- The guy I'd have married if he hadn't moved to Georgia: two wonderful huge heavy flannel shirts; about 20 packages of Cajun chicken ramen he mailed to me from Atlanta (you can't get that kind here in Chapel Hill); a container of popcorn salt I am hoarding because I don't want to use it up, I like having it on my shelf. Also, a liking for having the bed made.
Technorati Tags: Love, Memory