January 18, 2014 § 3 Comments
I said it. And now I have to do it. In my post “In Search of Simple Things” I said, “Ways to declutter, organize, sort and divest” were sounding attractive. It’s the actual getting rid of stuff, the parting, the excising that isn’t all that attractive to me. And where the ink hits the paper is the indisputable fact that complicates my life. I am a bibliophile. Yes. A lover of books. I’m hoping it hasn’t reached the point of bibliolatry … a state of being overly devoted to books.
Mostly I borrow books from the library, and
don’t mind bringing them back as I can find them again if I wish. Complicating matters is my work as an editor/writer that has at times necessitated reading a book and writing about it. And then there’s the relative who has access and first pick of used books to purchase as a Friend of the Library and who arrives for visits with bags or boxes for me to peruse and buy.
Why do I love books so? They are friends who supported me in various phases of my life, who entertained, who kept me awake, who spun new thoughts in my head, who made me cry, who taught me, inspired me and kept me company. How can I get rid of them? I keep my friends. I don’t necessarily want to read them twice; I just want them hanging around.
And so my garage is filled with books, the downstairs bookshelves are filled, the upstairs shelves have no more room. Some of these babies have to go. I’m approaching the “old woman in a shoe” syndrome.
How to cull? What to get rid of? Here’s the plan. I’m also motivated by value, so I have three boxes ready to go to a used bookstore that buys books for their consideration. I’ve listed many on Amazon, and sold some most weeks. It’s not as painful getting rid of books if I consider they are going to a new good home and if I make a few dollars on the exchange. Those that don’t sell I’ll save for my spring garage sale.
“What are you going to do with the ones that don’t sell then?” my husband asked.
“Oh, I’ll donate them,” I said offhandedly. But, it’s not that simple. I may just pat their covers lovingly and package them up and slide them back in the garage. I don’t have a problem with hoarding … after all. Or do I?
(c) 2014 Inger Logelin
January 6, 2014 § Leave a comment
Rainbow soap bubbles sparkled on the clear glass plate as the winter sun shone through the kitchen
window. I held the art deco handles, rinsed and wiped the flower-shaped plate and wondered. Wondered about the woman who had owned it before me.
I found it on a crisp November Saturday in Barron, Wisconsin when my sister-in-law and I stopped at an estate sale at a yellow one-story house on a quiet street. “Everything’s half off today,” said the antique store owner who was managing the sale. I walked through the house picking up clues. She must have been Scandinavian. Stainless and pewter serve ware, crisp linens, familiar patterns. A cheese serving set from the 50s in the original box with a Marshall Fields tag on it. Pink budded cups and saucers. Many items looked new or very lightly used. Some were obviously gifts she had never taken out of the box. A green and white chenille bedspread in perfect condition. A gilt mirror and brush and comb. Unused handkerchiefs and boxes of linen stationery tied with ribbon.
There’s something sad about strangers wander through a home, picking up and discarding, evaluating and critiquing treasures the owner had kept and valued but perhaps never taken out of the box. Were there no children to value what their mother had or to want to keep some remembrances of her?
I walked out of there with a box and a bag. Some to keep, some to give to a daughter who particularly values the 50s. And I came home with something else. The resolve to keep on using what I have and what I have been given. I want to take my gifts out of the box and give them a good go. Use them, pass them around, give them away. I want my gifts–what I am, what I possess–to wear the lovely patina that comes from loving interactions. Scratches and dents may result, but at the end my life won’t be one that was unused, unrealized and left in a box.
(c) Inger Logelin 2014
February 7, 2013 § Leave a comment
Colorful flashes of my life accost me at regular intervals throughout my day.
There’s the baby, she must have been three months old.
Who is that? My mind refusing to pull up a name.
Don’t ever wear that again, I warn myself.
Oh, remember that street in Nice … the dogteam ride in Greenland … Oh, there’s the wedding.
Does that top make me look fat? I muse, not looking for an answer.
No, it’s iPhoto selecting bits and pieces of my life to rotate on my desktop computer. No rhyme, no reason, no pattern. Just a delight of discovery. A frisson of remembrance. A slight breath in.
I look at all the lives who have touched mine, places traveled I never thought I’d go, the rich and varied tapestry of my life and I’m thankful.
copyright 2013 Inger Logelin
January 25, 2013 § 4 Comments
In the middle of December 2012, 45-year-old twin brothers in new suits and shoes drank cups of coffee together in the hallway of a hospital. They smiled, gave a little wave good-bye to family and were administered lethal injections by a doctor.
Marc and Eddy Verbessem lived in Belgium, a country where euthanasia is legal. According to an article by Simon Tomlinson in the Daily Mail Online on January 15, 2013, the twins were deaf since birth and also had “severe” medical problems. After receiving the crushing diagnosis they would soon be blind from a genetic form of glaucoma, Marc and Eddy told a brother they “had nothing to live for.” Unable to communicate with the outside world,they used their own form of sign language with family. Losing independence was untenable for the twins who worked as cobblers and had always lived together and taken care of themselves. The family tried to persuade them not to kill themselves, but failed.
Perhaps, if Marc and Eddy had met someone like Helen Keller they could have glimpsed hope for their futures.
Helen Keller, born in 1880, was blind and deaf at 19 months after a serious illness—probably scarlet fever or meningitis. Unable to communicate, her dark world exploded into light when Anne Sullivan held Helen’s hand under a water pump and repeatedly spelled out the signs for water. She was seven.
Helen learned to speak and read people’s lips by touching them with her fingertips. She earned a bachelor of arts degree at Radcliffe and became a world famous speaker and author. When she was introduced to Christianity, she said, “I always knew He was there but I didn’t know His name.” An author, speaker and political activist, she was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, a few years before she died in 1968.
Three lives facing the same obstacles. Two said they had nothing to live for. One lived out her credo, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
copyright 2013 Inger Logelin
August 7, 2012 § 11 Comments
It took a few days for the silence to be noticed. For a few days I was still coming across bits of my daughter’s life that she didn’t get into the moving truck. A hair tie from our 15-year-old granddaughter, Nikes that our 12-year old grandson had outgrown. Worn fuzzy slippers, a box of treasured cups, evidence of their life lived out first next door, then one house away. For twelve years.
Their house is empty, new owners moving garden art in bit by bit that looks out of place. It’s like the old magazine feature, “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” when you try to spot the items that don’t belong. I walk by their lush yard and think where did that come from? I want to go cut a bouquet from the lush crop of this season’s hydrangeas, but they’re someone else’s hydrangeas now.
Our house is quieter. Our daughter doesn’t breeze through the door in the mornings with a “Got any coffee?” Afternoon Scrabble or Rummikub games or the revolving back door, kids breezing in asking, “Grandpa?” or “Grandma?” are conspicuously absent. Life done collectively was noisy, rich and satisfying.
Moving on is taking on a new meaning for me. Our daughter and her husband and family moved on to a new opportunity and a new life in a state four days drive away. Moved from the green and temperate Northwest to over 100 temps, from being surrounded by water to flat land and drought.
Now it’s our turn to move on. No, not physically, but in terms of reinventing ourselves. Spoiled by the living-life-together privilege of close proximity, I dream of moving closer to our youngest daughter’s house and the bright and sparkly two-year old who lights up all our lives. They’re not four days’ drive away, just a ferry ride and 45 minutes, depending on notoriously clogged traffic. My moving on schemes range wide in imagination but will have to be played out in real time.
One thing is for sure, only God never changes, everything else does. My assignment, should I choose to accept it, is creatively filling the silence of their absence with moving on moments of my own.
ⓒ Inger Logelin 2012