We surround ourselves with stories. When I look at the things in our house, the ones that we keep I see not only what they are and the function they perform but also the stories that they hold. We keep things not only because they are useful but because they remind us of other times they tell us their stories. Some even tell us stories that we were never part of, the old stuffed animal inherited from an aunt, the book of poetry from a grandmother. Some are ever further removed, I once picked up a used book only to bring it home and find that it had a to do list from the 1950’s. Some items are kept well past their use (the envelop of ticket stubs).
Behind our house is our forest, in it live Solomon the Dragon. He is blue with a yellow belly. Most mornings it is his job to get the sun up. He taught me to fly and when Alder gets older he will teach him as well. This is my son’s first story. I may have named Solomon and gave him shape but Alder has run with it telling us everyday what the dragon is doing. He stands on our back porch with his kaleidoscope describing what is going on in Solomon’s cave.
The last few days I have stepped back to the early ’80s to the Ozarks. I have been so absorbed with Sue Hubble’s book A Country Year that I find the smallest spaces to read a few lines. I picked it up last week while I had a few hours to myself and wandered into a used bookstore, I made myself whittle my stack of books down to one, this is what I came home with.
There is always somebody reading a book in this house. Towers of library books sit by the bed, by the living room couch, and a few reside in the car just in case there are a few spare moments. But it isn’t just library books, the first thing we did once we moved in was to put up bookcases now there are two walls in our house lined with books, and there are still neatly stacked piles waiting for homes.
Our day’s rhythm is punctuated by stories, Papa reads to Alder while the water for tea boils in the morning, I read intermittently while we are at the sand pit, or playground, or while he is in the bathtub, as bed time approaches Alder and I get cozy for a half hour or more of story books, and finally as he drifts of to sleep I tell him the story of his day.
As a child I started an altar on my dresser, not to anything but as a place to collect my stories, I filled small boxes and bowls with ephemera and memories. Anytime someone asked about a certain object I would tell them it’s story. Now most of those objects are stored in my parent’s old steamer trunk along with all my mother’s ephemera that I still keep around. (oh, she would have been 74 today).
Click on either picture to learn more about the objects in each one.