I believe my own creativity was quietly ignited and fostered by my father who photographed, and my mother who quilts. Both activities required lots of THINGS.
It’s fascinating to ponder why we consider certain items essential, and how attached we become to those THINGS. For me it boils down to a few reasons—memories, personal history, usefulness, or the love of the THING itself.
My father has been gone for a while, and I recently moved my mother from their apartment to a higher level of assisted living care, which involved a deep and sometimes emotional digging into the long-lived lives of my parents.
There were the usual items to deal with: documents, photographs, various collections, antiques, coupons, letters, clothing, books, hand-written notes to self, furniture, jewelry, tons of fabric, etc. etc. etc. I often found myself wondering why in the heck my mother still had this or that, but decisions had to be made and much went into the dumpster. A LOT went into the dumpster.
But a LOT did not. My mother loved sticky notes. They were everywhere (which often made us giggle) and were very helpful to my siblings and me as we dispersed the more loved and personal THINGS they kept around. She would write, “Give this to so-and-so,” “Don’t give this away-was my mother’s when she was a child,” “Sell this, it’s worth something,” “Donate to whomever,” etc. Seriously, the notes were invaluable.
The task was completed and I returned home with 2 small boxes containing my share of THINGS that I found precious; my parents honeymoon album, my father’s Air Force jacket and flight maps, my mother’s quilts, hand-written letters, many many photographs and slides, and my mother’s first shoes.
So when it came time for my mother to choose a few items to take to her new room, the fabrics and Singer sewing machine (which she’s had since a she was a young woman) were the only two must-haves. For my mother, these essential THINGS are full of her memories, tell her story, and are the tools which will enable her mind and hands to continue creating…and I can relate to that.