Sunday, 12 August 2018

Packing



I spent yesterday dusting and carefully packing away my husband's large selection of books.
I wasn't angry or upset, I just wanted to clear the bookcase in the bedroom, clean it of twelve years of dust and repack it with my own , much more meagre selection of books.
All of the dogs and Albert lay around the mess in untidy heaps watching the action.
I'm not going to discuss my marriage here so please don't ask me anything, but I did wanted to talk about the peace and memories such a pastime brings to a person.
Books on politics and history , of queens long dead, of wartime and Art Deco whodunnits, the Mitford sisters and of Russian ballet dancers, all were wiped clean of soot and boxed awaiting sorting and tucked away behind them, in between them , were the flotsam of decades of ordinary life.
Train tickets dated 2007 to Bangor, a clock key, old wage packets , a half flattened stuffed platypus bought from Sydney Zoo. A few letters dated from when people actually wrote letters, a Christmas card list, dried flowers fallen out of a small family Bible ( a cutting from my Grandmother's wedding bouquet) my old Charge Nurse ID badge and a lady's handkerchief with a monogrammed K in one corner .
The pile of detritus grew as the books were packed away.
And I worked away in silence save for the chirping of the sparrow flock in the honeysuckle

92 comments:

  1. Those little bits and pieces can be real memory triggers. We put in some new bookcases recently, and I found surprising things when I was moving books, photos, travel ticket stubs, slipped in between books. I have three organizer bins I call my memory boxes, filled with little things picked up over the past 55 years.

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    1. Your life in a pile of crap YP

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  2. It is amazing all these little things that drop out from between books that we put there once because it was somewhere to put it at the time when we couldn't think of anywhere else. I have found lots like this. Next one has to decide what to do with it after it's been fondled and read and remembered: to keep to be found again one day or to throw away.

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    1. Apart from the crap, most of the bits I found, were put away in a wooden box

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    2. "Sweet nothings" I call bits like that..how are the animals coping with the different dynamic of their home? They sense these things don't they..xx

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  3. I think for a task like this, trance or techno music can be soothing. ;)

    We are in the midst of a major decluttering here, and I am trying to sort my books out. I have a lot of books which I own in digital form now and I don't need to keep the physical books. I'm not going to read them again because I much prefer using my tablet.

    The books I do not yet own in digital form I want to own that way, so I am trying to find where I can buy them. Some of them just don't exist in that format, it seems. :/

    When you get your selection on the shelves, will you post us a photo or few?

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    1. I'll post a photo later x

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  4. Good for you for packing. It's good to move forward. I am a packrat, so I need to declutter every couple of months, lest I end up on tv on a hoarders reality show.

    Decluttering seems hard at first, but once you start, it gets easier. And in the end, you feel liberated and accomplished and lighter after cleaning out the clutter. But yes, it is strange what we hold onto. I still wonder why I haven't thrown out old movie ticket stubs so faded that I can't even read the name of the movies on them, much less remember them.

    But they were from a time when I first became independent and lived in the big city and made new friends. It's nice to have something physical to touch, to remind us of those pivotal points in our lives.

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    1. Clearing the decks is certainly therapeutic

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  5. Reading this after watching yesterday's post of the film clip with the moving music, I feel quite choked up. As usual it seems like you are the one left to pick up the mess (physically and metaphorically speaking) and it breaks my heart for you. I hope you can replenish the contents of the bookcase with things that bring you joy. x

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    1. Oh there's been a lot more water under the bridge since yesterday Simone x

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  6. Anonymous1:52 pm

    I think tasks under these circumstances should be looked at as another step up to new amazing life experiences. All is within reach, but there are a series of difficult steps to climb to get there.

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    1. And now I have shelf space x

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  7. Nice to see you "moving on" John. Please don't cry.

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  8. I picked up a secondhand book yesterday and out fell a Virgin postcard menu from Los Angeles to Heathrow. It was weird looking into someone else's life and thinking what they ate on a plane. Buy more books and maybe knick-knacks ;) to fill the shelves.

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    1. I guess books can be like antiques, we only look after them for a while

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  9. Look at that, anonymous stole my thoughts exactly!

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    1. It's a crazy world , craqzy world

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  10. Barbara Anne2:15 pm

    Hugs.

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  11. Once again you have created a cinematic image with words.

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  12. I have packed and moved so many times in my life .. I sort of look forward to it now , as a new adventure, even when the circumstances might not be what I wished for . Leaving some things behind is a good thing, taking the good and loved memories with you is a good thing ..
    I admit to sitting down to pack or sort out things to pack and ending up surprised that hours have gone by ! and I have not packed anything but spent some time in days that I was glad to remember.. while holding a small object that released that flood of memories.

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  13. You describe it so well. Small objects that bring back a wealth of memories.

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  14. It certainly is a trip down memory lane and also emotional lane. I'm am constantly going through this as I pack away mom and dad's stuff before I sell the farm.

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    1. Indeed steve, you've had a hard job recently haven't you?

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  15. Picturing you enjoying memories with a peaceful feeling has me sitting here smiling. One wonderful thing about nice memories is they will always remain ours to keep. On Valentine's day I was moving books and found a Valentine my husband had given me before he passed away. What a perfectly timed gift that was.

    On windy days I can smell the scents from the beach coming through the windows of my rented home. I hope you can smell the honeysuckle when your windows are open.

    My mother and I often wrote letters to each other. Thank you for reminding me of how nice it is to find one in the mailbox. I think I'll send one to my brother soon. I actually still own nice stationary, do you? -Mary

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  16. Please come round and clean up our extensive library. Allow a week.

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    1. I'll bring extra dusters

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  17. I am so sorry to hear your news(I don't expect an explanation I'm not that noisey) keep your chin up x x

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  18. “All the dogs and Albert . . .
    around you . . . watching . . .
    peace and memories such a pastime brings . . .
    flotsam of decades of ordinary life . . .
    silence and the chirping of the sparrow . . .”

    Reading what you have written, pulls me in . .
    and at the very least . . . I wish I was holding your hand . . .

    Sacred time John . . .

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  19. Your words, about a simple task are just so poetic. Your own book is screaming to get out of you, never mind the ones you were packing away.

    I know of no other blogger that can write about both the ordinary and the extraordinary day to day tasks so fluently and eloquently. We could almost be sat on the edge of the bed surrounded by dogs and dust watching your every move.

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    1. If you were there I would have got you dusting too!
      Thank you x

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    2. A Smaller Life has expressed my feelings perfectly...write your book and/or make a movie...pull together a team of students studying film production! Come on...YOU can do it!

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    3. Yes John, as Sue said there is something in you that yearns to come out. Life's path is leading you closer to it. Don't push it but do listen to your heart.

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  20. That's something I need to do. I do keep wavering between keeping the lot and filling the garbage bins. Too many books I never will use again, but then again, what if I need to look something up? Sigh ...

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  21. Dusting each book was a kindness and I hope it brought you some satisfaction.

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  22. I agree with A Smaller Life about your ability to write so beautifully!

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  23. I also agree with the words of A Smaller Life. Your words were quite poetic and moving. Ro xx

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  24. i like the photo graphy

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  26. Hey !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still write letters!

    A good clear out helps the soul I say...did for me when me 13 year ended.

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    1. Yes it feels more positive x

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  27. New situations ask for newly arranged bookcases. You did well by doing so.

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  28. I am glad to hear you were not angry or upset while you undertook your task. I implored a friend not to tear photos up during her divorce as she might be able to look at them one day and say " we were happy for a long time "
    Thank you for telling us x

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  29. When I was in a similar position my ex didn't want any of the things he left behind. I checked several times. So I piled them all up and had a lovely bonfire!!

    Very therapeutic :-)

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  30. Mesmerizing. Then done and on.

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  31. We buy and sell books and have a few boxes of items found in them over the years, tickets, old money, postcards of where people have been and even a "readers wife" photograph!

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  32. A sad task, no doubt, but perhaps also mesmerizing and comforting in the silence and the memories.

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  33. My two small bookcases are all filled up, which means about 20 other books scattered about my little apartment. I should really get rid of some of those books, especially since it's been years since I've opened up a good many of them, but for some reason I just can't.

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  34. I wonder if you will place a cheery vase of fresh flowers in the space John x

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  35. Tasks like these are not easy and my heart goes out to you. It is a move forward, to a new phase and hopefully happier times.

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  36. Sometimes silence and this kind of job are both great healers John - well done for getting stuck in. x

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  37. Those little discoveries between the books and between the pages can stir such powerful memories. Any idea who "K" of the monogrammed handkerchief was?

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    1. Not a scooby doo on that one !

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  38. Your gentle ordering of things reminds me of a scene/line from The Age of Innocence when "Countess Olenska had brought some of her possessions with her—bits of wreckage, she called them"
    I do not mean it to sound glib or mean, the scene embodies so much of your strength and I guess that is why I mentions it.
    Hugs.

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    1. " bits of wreckage " I like that analogy xx

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  39. Serious declutterers often advise getting rid of those bits of life, or at least taking a picture and then getting rid of them - they say you have the memories so why keep the "things"? But I can't. The things themselves seem to be the key to the memories. And every so often I run across them and spend an hour or more in the past. It's not a bad place to be, now and then.

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    1. I'm not bad at throwing things away but I have sadly on occasion been too zealous

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  40. Your bookcase looks lovely now John-is that your polar bear glowing x

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  41. Good on you John nothing like a clear out,and free's the mind of clutter well done !!!

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  42. Oh the space that would be added if either of our collections of books/ephemera could be moved.
    Well done you. And hugs.

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  43. Jan B8:59 pm

    I find that kind of organizing like taking a deep breath of clean fresh air! Just don't hyperventilate!!

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  44. Your writing is so beautiful, John. I am thinking of you often. I am sorry about what you are going through, however, I do see that brightness in you that moving forward brings. Your spacious bookcase is beautiful.

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  45. Sounds very cathartic, John.

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  46. A good thing to do,but hard.
    Setting us all a good example too

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  47. bOOKS ARE MEMORIES. hUGS.

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  48. Going through detritus can be therapeutic. I go through my stuff every summer. Two summers ago I spent many hours at the dump throwing "things" away from my marriage. I remember hearing the thuds as the things hit the dumpster. It helped me believe it or not!

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    1. Are you now ready to date again?

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  49. Thinking of you. Sending hope.

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  50. I reckon (using Western US dialogue) here, that it's different when a mate dies. Quoting from "Into the woods", "I know many things now, many valuable things, that I never knew before...".....I discovered over the years that there were things that I'd kept, books, pictures, objects, that I'd kept simply because Cary had touched them. Life goes on, with us or without us. I decided to do the 'with us' part. I recommend it. It's all different for each of us, regardless of circumstance. It's only similar in how we deal with it, 'it' being ourselves.
    Think of you often, John.
    Mike

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  51. I have found it easier to let go of a lot of the detris over the years. In the end it is not the things themselves that matter, but the memories we have.

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  52. Cherish the good and toss the rest. There were good times in my marriage and I held onto those memories. I tossed the rest but this took time. It got easier as I went along.

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  53. All part of the process dear one... I've not experienced it with a marriage break up and so am not in a position to know if it is harder when it is that type of loss as compared to a permanent loss through death - I just know that there are things that we would like to have said or say that one can't and that's OK - just say them in that quiet place and space with the birds twittering and they will breathe out into the winds of time and peace of mind will return. Hugs Elle xx

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  54. Please look after that platypus and yourself.

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  55. I just bought a second hand copy of Virginia Woolf's diary (vol 1) which had a memorial card tucked inside it for a lady who died in New Jersey in 1985.

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  56. John, lovely and so well written that I can feel what you are feeling. Sigh. Would hug you if I could. And as someone already noted, there's a book in you - please write it, as I am keening for something wonderful and ballsy, funny and poignant to read. Please. We need your words, especially here in the states where NO ONE can speak without using the word "like" as every other freakin' word. Sending love from way across the pond.

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  57. The book case looks good and as many have said a post so well written. All the best,John.

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  58. Not easy to do, but in the end, there is often some peace.

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  59. Isn't it funny how books can hold so much more than just stories. I have found such wonderful things amongst the pages. I do hope this exercise brought you some comfort.

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  60. The sparrows chirping in the honeysuckle gave you a beautiful background sound as you worked packing those books away and thinking of memories.

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