The poor penny, it has been relegated to the world of the discarded and worthless items that today’s world generates. Now its value lies only in its elemental material – copper (Cu). But the phrase is a part of our vernacular. Will it one day be another one of those phrases, like “You sound like a broken record!“ that kids will hear and learn to utter, but at the same time wonder “What’s a record anyway?

Pennies may be losing importance, but thoughts aren’t.

I follow a few blogs, perhaps not as often or as much as I should, or as I want to. But I read a post today that pulled at my thoughts. The words were eloquent, the shared thoughts were honest with a tinge of life’s general bitter sadness. A scooter on a winding road in a forest regrown from yesteryear’s demolition. Life ebbs and flows and we all face hardships that we feel more keenly than others may. Some think that shared writing is a form of attention seeking, but sometimes it’s simply therapeutic and a recognition that there are others out there who feel the same way but may not know how to find the words. Sharing thoughts on paper, or on the screen, is an act of personal recognition.

I feel this

We live in a time where we have more outlets available to communicate with more people at once than ever before. And at the same time, more of us feel more alone than ever before because we don’t feel that we can communicate with honesty lest we somehow make ourselves less rather than more.

I write, therefore I am

This weekend I had to finish a small bit of painting. The frame around a closet, sans closet door, needed to be finished. But it meant moving a several hundred pound cabinet out first, and once that was moved I knew there were boxes and boxes of things that needed to be dealt with in behind.

When Grandad died in the 1980s’s, his things remained with Granny.

When Granny died in 2006, many of her things, and his, ended up divided between the three brothers, most of the photos, slides, letters, and other memories with my father and one of my uncles.

When Mom died in 2012, I ended up with her photos, dishes, and boxes of other items to precious at the time to let go of. Over the past six years I have whittled that down to those things that I will actually use, or that have so much meaning that I still haven’t been able to adequately address them. And then there were items in her house that were from her parents…that migrated to my house.

When Dad died three years ago, my brother shipped box after box of his slides and photos to me to deal with. We spent days in the living room going through them with a slide projector not he wall. Moose. Chipmunk. Flower. Tree. Mountain. Auntie Clara! Keep that one, appreciate the rest, toss away the ones that have no immediate meaning to me. It’s hard to sift through things that were important to someone else and try to provide the appreciation to them that they once had, and face the fact that you can’t keep them all. I also inherited many boxes of other items of my grandparents.

Then my uncle moved to the other side of the country and arrived on my doorstep with more boxes of my grandparent’s things. Binders filled with letters between them while he was away working, dredging in the northern lakes. More slides. Funeral guest books. Her old school bell. His compass. Uncle Jacks spectacles. Her diaries. Music books. Decades old address books…names I vaguely recall from my childhood.

Oh, and my own items. A very old stuffed cat, brown, reminding me of Milo. Childhood books, a book of poetry from my Grandma (That’s where it is!!). A copy of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas from 1945. Also from Grandma’s house. Two Fisheries and Oceans Canada science booklets on fish – one on sturgeon one on cod. Beautiful painted fish, written in both French and English. Mom used two find the most wonderful items in the most unusual places.

All of these things I had to face and sift through, yet again.

12 boxes reduced to four.

  • Some things went to the Salvation Army – Mom’s painting supplies, a few old books, various other things that I simply cannot keep and which have no interest to other family members.
  • A few things migrated to work. Those fish booklets held my coworkers attention and he told me I should find a way to display them safely for others in the office to appreciate.
  • Some things went in a pile to send to my Aunt – a couple books from her childhood, a picture from Mom’s house.
  • One or two things went into a small pile for my eldest cousin – a framed photo of her parents, Granny’s school bell.
  • A few line drawings set aside that need to be returned to my graduate supervisor.
  • Some things went back into boxes – slides for another day’s attention. Someday I will find the time to digitize and share them with family.
  • Some things came out into the open – the little brown stuffed cat now sits on a chair int he bedroom, reminding us of Milo’s missing presence.

Life is bittersweet and sifting through memories is hard, but these thoughts are important.

I remember, therefore they existed

Funny where a penny can take you.

Penny for Your Thoughts

118 Photos in 2018 – Periodic Elements