Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pandora's Box and Other Tales

One of my favorite memories from my teenage years involves a Chevy Nova, a John Denver tape, and my friend Tracey.

Tracey's Mom drove us everywhere in her blue 1970something blue Chevy Nova. She was a nurse at the State Mental Hospital, and she often told us stories of the men on her floor thinking they were Jesus. But, when she wasn't telling us stories, we listened to this old John Denver tape with the poem "Pandora's Box" or something like that on it. It's funny, after all these years, I don't remember the words or the tune, but I remember that I sat in the front seat because Tracey would never, ever, ever sit in the front seat of any car. I remember singing all the other songs but hoping that the Box song would come around before I got dropped off.

I am surrounded by memories.

Packing and cleaning my childhood home is therapeutic and, sometimes, a little sad. I am looking soooo forward to our new life in CT, but, for the next 14 days, I am surrounded by voices and images and, sometimes, tears.

Today I packed my library. I donated EIGHT LARGE boxes to the library. As I packed the books, I could remember little details about them. Some were ones I read as an undergrad; some were from graduate school. I am fairly certain I have the largest collection of Jung and Archetype resources in Bethlehem. Inside many of the books were notes tucked here and there. Some were reminders to "pick up cat food" and some were doodles with phrases like "Matthew Lewis was a twisted X!#!" Only true nerds can understand, lol.

Parting with books was hard.

Cleaning the boys room was harder.

As I packed away all the little itty bitty clothes, I can remember where and when or who or why we got most pieces. The baby clothes were packed in a sealed container and, honestly, smelled just like I remember (not poopy - um, fresh like little daisies). As I packed up the Noah's Ark items for Good Will, I just remember the excitement of being pregnant and the anticipation of a new baby...then the instant jolt of finding out we were having a second one! But, the cute matching clothes, the little stuffed toys, the rattles....they are all in boxes ready to go to another another Mom with the same hopes and fears...


The hardest part, by far, has been seeing pictures of my parents. At one time they were happy and smiling...but, today, those smiles, that joy, is only a very distant memory. Today we tossed out a furniture thingy from the basement; it was covered in crayon. But, those crayon marks were not from my children; they were from my brother, Timmy, who died when he was 8 - nearly 35 years ago. As they carried it to the corner, I felt like they had raised the Titanic in front of my eyes. Those crayon marks sat silent all these years - peppered in dust - but seeing them now, in the sunlight, in the open...

I think about that John Denver song, and it reminds me a little of what I have to do here in the next two weeks. I have to open the boxes of time and sort through the memories...and decide which of them are going with me to CT, which will cause damage, and which ones need to be let go.


Anonymous said...

Do you happen to know what tape the John Denver song was on?

Anonymous said...

It was on "Poems, Prayers and Promises", I also used to hear this in the car.
I remember being 6 or so, sitting with a tape recorder and typewriter hammering it out slowly word by word.

The only online reading by John Denver that I could find is here (about 5.30 in):

Beth Ritter-Guth said...