Monday, May 29, 2017

Immersed in memories (and dust)

Kerry Wood, feeling neglected
The best part about cleaning out the closet in my son's old bedroom was what I didn't find: mouse holes, mouse droppings, or piles of dead bugs, all of which have turned up in other neglected closets in our house. The worst part was fighting through a blanket of dust that hasn't been disturbed in years, but it's all for a good cause: getting ready to paint that room and make it more welcoming to the grandkids.

Excavating a jam-packed closet was not how I had planned to spend Memorial Day, but the garden is too wet to allow more planting and it looks like more rain is on the way, so I decided to stick to an indoor activity. What better day to immerse myself in forgotten strata of childhood detritus?

Here's my son's old stuffed panda bear, growing a heavy coat of dust. Here's his Millennium Falcon model showing signs of use alongside three or four model airplane kits still in the unopened boxes. And oh hey, here's a very nice bicycle pump! Surely that could be put to good use, and if my son doesn't want his old rollerblades anymore, there must be some kid out there somewhere who will treasure them.

I make one big pile of toys the grandkids can use--Legos! Beanie Babies! Marble tower!--and another of things no one will ever need, like a box of broken crayons and a pile of corroded batteries. The most surprising item is a headrest that belonged in a car that went to the junkyard years ago. Why is it still here?

Most of the stuff, though, falls somewhere in that gray zone between total junk and valuable only to a limited audience: flimsy plastic Little League trophies, band competition medals, a pinewood derby car with part of an old tie clasp glued on (for ballast and style). Who wants a Kerry Wood bobble-head? Who even remembers that Kerry Wood played long enough for the Cleveland Indians to earn his own bobble-head? 

I've left a pile of such items for my son to sort through, and after that I'll get to work on painting. I haven't picked a color yet, but right now I'm content to leave the closet the color of clean.    

Why is this here?


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