Thursday, 11 July 2013


John (Going Gently on my side bar) has a blog today about stuff he and his partner have accumulated over their years together.  It heartened me to see it.   So many people these days are minimalist and have little or no accumulated stuff.   I, on the other hand, in keeping with John's philosophy, have masses of stuff.   You could pick up any one piece and I would be able to tell you where it came from, why I like it and why I choose to keep it - and above all - what memories it holds for me.

I love my stuff and I move it all around to suit my feelings at the moment.   One or two particularly precious pieces are already in my will to go to people who I know will treasure them.   The rest, when I and the farmer die, will no doubt be picked over by anyone in line to inherit any of it and then the residue will be sent to some sale room somewhere.

Does that distress me?   Well, I suppose it would if I thought about it too deeply but in the cool, clear light of day, most stuff and its memories is only important to the person who bought it/was given it/ acquired it in some way.   And memories die with us, don't they, so that piece of stuff would not hold any importance to whoever inherited it.

I am reminded of the Kahlil Gibran quotation:
'Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself....
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls shall dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit,
Not even in your dreams.'

I have put on photographs of just a few of my treasures and the memories they hold for me.   Those memories will not be passed on to my son or to my grandchildren - they will no longer have meaning.

1.  The embroidered raffia basket which hangs from my kitchen celing was given to me many years ago by a West Indian boy I taught.   I wrote a letter for his father asking his employers for leave to visit his parents still in Jamaica.   As a thank you the father brought me this basket back.   My pupil brought it into school very early in the morning (I was usually in school by eight o'clock) so that no other pupil should see him bringing in a present for teacher.
I treasure it greatly and it holds good memories.
2. The two beaded love birds hang over my kitchen doorway.  I bought them on a holiday in the Taurus mountains in Turkey.   They were made by prisoners in a Turkish jail.  I have had them for years and they remind me of a wonderful holiday with my previous husband.
3.  The oyster catcher was bought on our holiday in Norfolk earlier this year.   The bird is common in Norfolk; it is also quite common in our fields.  Although I have only had it a few weeks, I love it already.
4. The Chinese writing, which is apparently a poem about rural life and is written on rice paper (I had it framed) was bought almost forty years ago in China.  Although I have no translation I love it for its intrinsic beauty.
5. This picture of Venice was painted after a particularly wonderful week in Venice.  Again, it was painted by my first husband.  We were riding up the Grand Canal in a Vaporetto when we passed this beautiful garden so my husband committed the memory to oil paint as soon as he returned home.
6. A painting is

by Toni Bartl, the Czech artist, who was a friend of my first husband.   It symbolises the uniting of a man and a woman and was given to us by the artist on the occasion of our wedding in March 1952.

Nobody will know any of that when we are gone.   Will it matter?
No, I suppose it won't.   The important thing is that I get pleasure from them and their memories whilst I am here.   What my children and grandchildren choose to do with them is unimportant isn't it?

Sorry about the way the pictures have popped up in the middle of the text.   Is there a way of getting them where you want them to go or does Google have a mind of its own?   I would be grateful if someone would tell me.


Judy said...

You are so right about the memories making things special!! But I also have a lot of stuff that is for making, and that seems to be clutter more than anything else.
What I do when I am putting photos into a post is to do it all in order. The photo, then the writing, and the next photo, as I go along. Blogger does not store your photos (I found out after I deleted a bunch from several years ago), they are stored in Picassa or some such.

John Gray said...

You have soe lovely " stuff" pat

Crafty Green Poet said...

There's good stuff - like things with special memories, or craft supplies, or books then there's bad stuff which clutters up living spaces so there's no room to move. Yours seems to be all good!

As to photos, google has a mind of its own, definitely

MorningAJ said...

You have some lovely stuff and I'm not surprised you treasure it.

As for the photos.... when you're in edit mode you should be able to grab hold of them with your mouse and move them about. A blue bar should open up when you do it. Click on 'center' to put the picture in the middle of the column. (If it doesn't do it immediately - click on left, then center......)

Reader Wil said...

Wonderful post! I especially like the way you tell about the beautiful memories these things evoke. Every object has a story to tell. Your first husband was a very good painter! Thank you for sharing your memories!

Tom Stephenson said...

So this is why I was never invited to your wedding - I was only 1. Those are nice treasures, Weave.

Heather said...

Beautiful treasures and beautiful memories, but don't you think your family might treasure them because they were yours? I have things that belonged to my grandmother - they are special to me because they were hers.
With regard to photos and text on blogs - I post all my photos first and then add the relevant text under each one. I don't know if our systems are the same - this method may not work for you.

Rachel said...

Looking at Stuff from the other point of view, I have just cleared 70 years of my mother's accumulated "junk",together with my father's who died 40 years ago and mother never did anything with it. Just let me say that I have vowed never to leave anyone having to do this for me and I am therefore now a minimalist and am actively clearing out my own stuff now.

Em Parkinson said...

I'm with Rachel after a Grandparental nightmare which took three months worth of weekends with my Mum to clear. I think the answer is to be selective in what you keep rather than retaining everything you ever receive.

I can't understand why your pictures have gone where they are unless perhaps you left the cursor at the point where they went in by mistake when you clicked the image insertion button? Do you preview what you publish first? Always a good idea in my experience!

Hildred said...

Stuff and memories, - what a combination. If it is true that memories disappear at the point of death, there is still the memory of 'mother telling me about the memories this particular stuff evoked in her mind' and that could carry on for generations - she said, hopefully.

I am making a valiant effort to at least sort and record my stuff, and it makes me feel quite satisfied with myself, but one of these days I am going to have to be realistic about my wool stash!!

Elizabeth Wix said...

Such a rich and wonderful post!
Your first husband certainly was a wonderful painter.
I can quite see why you keep the Jamaican basket - lovely to be reminded of a good deed well rewarded.
So hard to part with wonderful, heartfelt 'gifts'......

I agree with some of your other commenters.
Post all the photos FIRST
then write between them. Then they come out in the right order (well, usually......)

Cloudia said...

Rather like your items.

You know, if you would email me a photograph of you calligraphy I believe I might just be able to get it translated for you!

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° >

angryparsnip said...

I wrote on John's post about the fire that burned all the things that were full of memories for me.
Now I have some the burned leftovers that I saved from the ashes and my x who through much of it away.
I don't have much stuff around I live in a very dust area but what I have hold many memories.
Your first husband was a wonderful painter with a great memory. I always have to take a photo first before I paint. That is a beautiful painting.

I always post the photos first from the picasa tray and then write under the photos.

cheers, parsnip

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the comments. Thanks also for the advice about photographs. I shall try it out next time I do a blog with pictures.

Tom - had I known you then you could have come to our wedding - I am sure somebody would have pushed you around in your push chair.

Gerry Snape said...

...the shelves are coming down with "stuff" as the family say and like you each has a memory...loved the quote...I've saved it in my "Quote file"...another thing I save!!

Dave King said...

You pick a theme that has been uppermost in our two minds of late, in part from thinking about wills etc, but most of all because both our son and daughter are in the throes of moving or trying to move, as a friend or ours just has, and all are beset by accumulated belongings that either will not fit in the next house (the friend) or are no longer required. So trips to dumps and charity shops have been the order of the day. And then there are the treasures...

Golden West said...

How fun to see some of your treasures, Weaver! You have a very eclectic mix, with many colors being the theme that ties them together, I think. I, too, am a collector who attaches specific happy memories to my favorite things. Washing the dishes is a pleasant chore when I'm washing the dishes my grandmother used - I don't save anything for "special use only", but use what I have all the time. My grandmother let us grandkids choose something we wanted from her home when she was still alive - it gave her great happiness to visit our homes and see displayed or used whatever we had chosen. I chose a pair of wooden hand carved angel heads she and Grandpa had found in Switzerland in the 1960s - still treasured by me these past 25 years.