Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vintage Memory Haze

I recently opened another box of my mother's things.  Simple everyday items.  They are vintage now as years have passed and the common things we took for granted have achieved a new level of importance to those who love vintage, collect vintage.

My mother was storing away her sewing supplies.  She saved everything and neatly put things away for future use.  That is her writing up there on those paper labels.  Labels made from recycled scraps of envelopes, the back unused sides of writing papers...she used everything.  It is plain to see she has thread in a plastic bag, buttons in a paper sack, rug & embroidery hooks (she misspelled embroidey...a clue) each bag carefully tagged. 
My Mother was leaving visual reminders to herself in the most practical of ways.  One with Alzheimer's can look at a spool of thread in a plastic bag.  Plainly seeing it's color, shape, and might even take it out and hold it in wonder.  Searching for meaning in this relic of the moments just gone by.  Clenching the fingers aged with knobs of arthritis around its smooth surface and with mind racing in a windstorm of noise be unable to remember it's everyday name. It is hard to imagine being in that spot.  We all forget momentarily why we walked into the kitchen or where we set our keys last...this is so much more.  This is the loss of controll of everyday actions and thoughts. This is scary stuff.  My mother fixed this problem for years without mentioning her vast unknown fears to us her family.  She labeled every plain everyday thing.  Took notes and then copied them over again and again. 

Mom also copied down what was important to her.  Left little pieces of paper with quotes that were important enough to be transcribed and left behind.  The things she wanted to remember to say to us, or hear again herself. 
"The sky is full of blue
and full of the mind
of God"
from book "Dakota"
Christian love is the
continuing expression
of intelligent good will
to all
without being
or manipulative
(Walker Evans
Vintage collectibles.  So much more meaning when you think of how easily things can be forgotten.  We treasure everyday objects because they are what our daily lives are made of.  What we build our futures with.  The thoughts, readings, buttons, threads that bring us to our eventual end.  If you loose the 'thread' of it you have lost yourself.  Alzheimer's is just as devastating to minds and lives as the land fills that so greedily cover up and rot our possessions. 
If you look at the CT scan of a brain with Alzheimer's you plainly see vast dark areas of nothing amidst the remains of functioning matter.  In this way it is like collecting vintage. You cherish the broken bits of pottery as you hope you find all the missing pieces to the set of Grandmother's silver. What bits you can no longer find or retrieve you will regret, tell their story and remember.   If you are so unlucky as to have lost the memory then you can only hope to find your notes. 
Thanks for leaving the notes Mom.  I am remembering you.  Your brilliant creative mind and I cherish your notes.  They whisper to me the things you didn't remember or have time to say to me. I find you in them and in that I am fortunate. 
from Mom

Mom in her high button shoes.

Love, Lambie


Donna said...

Anne, I'm in tears reading your beautiful tribute post to your mom. How wonderful that you have so many of her things, and so many notes and quotations in her own handwriting. What a gift she left for you. I lost my dad almost a year ago. The one year anniversary of his passing is coming up and it doesn't take much to bring tears to my eyes these days. Anyhow, I found you through the Vestiesteam Blogging thread and just had to take a minute to tell you I loved your post. Here's one I did about my dad for Father's day if you care to read it:

All my very best to you,
Donna (who will also be 60 come September :)

Anne Arnold Pierce said...

Thank you for you kind words and for sharing the link to your blog. I joined your blog and tried to make a comment there. Not sure if it 'took' or just went for review.
What a beautiful Dad you have. I see by his twinkling eyes just how special he was. God Bless. I hope to see more of you and I will read more of your blog.
hugs, Anne

Araignee said...

Oh my goodness....yesterday my sister and I scolded our dad severely for putting all his clothes in bags and writing up these complicated (and what we thought were plain silly) labels for them. Now I completely understand what is going on. To say I am in tears over your lovely (and loving post) isn't saying enough. Thank you.

Anne Arnold Pierce said...

I wore your shoes and your sisters shoes. When I look back at things I makes me feel so badly. I too scolded my mother for things she did that were just driving me nuts. I did not know at the time why she was doing them. I am going to write about more of these events.
I am glad that this has been able to shed some light on what is going on for you. I thought about writing this after a comment you wrote the other day describing something your Dad had done during had reminded me of this kind of thing.
So much love for you.

reveriefrance said...

I love the intro to your blog. My dog knows all of my secrets too and helps me get back on track when life throws me a curve ball. It's amazing what these little souls do for us.

Anne Arnold Pierce said...

reverie...just a look from my dog will put me in a good place. I think they are all soul.