Little Shack on the Hill

Life happens while renovating!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Memories in the Attic

I spent this morning digging through totes stored in our attics.  Yes, that was supposed to be a plural.  We have 3 attics.  One above the house, one above the guest cabin, and one above what was the wood shed, but has been closed in and insulated and is now my hubby's gun room.  Each attic holds certain things.  The house attic has the Christmas and other seasonal decorations, some of my hubby's old military stuff (which I'm hoping he will never think about getting to and I can eventually get rid of!) a couple of boxes of knick knacks that there was no place for when we moved in to this house, but are still precious to me, X-country skis, stuff I had to put somewhere because we are re-doing the deck and they were on it....basically stuff I, personally, want and need to be able to get to at least once a year. The cabin attic is a mess!  The pack rats and squirrels can get into it, and as the cats can't, well, they have free use of it.  In it are totes of the kids things.  Each tote is labeled with the child's name, and once they are settled into a home of their own they have to come and get them!  Our oldest, Morgan, now married and with a family of her own, has done just that.  I have handed all of her old toys, books etc., on to her and she has done what she wants with it all.  Jordan, having just gotten married this summer and living in a very small rental house, won't be taking hers until they are someplace more settled.  Matt lives in my Mom's basement with a friend and is still a long ways off from being able to get his.  Alley and Zac are still at home and are still contributing to their accumulation.
But, basically the cabin is for long term storage.  I only go up when I have to.
The gun room attic is pretty much camping, summer outside toys, and a lot of odds and ends.  I can get into it without a ladder and it tends to be where I put (chuck!) stuff I don't know what to do with!
But, today I visited all 3.  My reason was to find a certain tote that contained a certain box.  Mysterious, huh?  Not really.
My sister in law, Suzy, called yesterday.  It seems my brother had the wonderful idea to get my mom a bottle of the perfume my dad used to give her every year for Christmas.  My dad is now in a care home and has alzheimers.  He doesn't remember any of us any more.  Mom is familiar, but he doesn't know who she is.  For anyone who has a loved one with this disease, you will understand how hard it is to watch happen.  My dad was a wonderful father and a doting husband.  He put Mom on a pedestal, and loved her completely.  Dad would buy Mom a bottle of Guerlain perfume, even though it was expensive and we were not terribley flush when I was growing up.  He would have to have it ordered in specially some years.  Sometimes he bought her the scented soap as well.  It is the scent that defines Mom to me.
When Suzy called asking if I knew the name of the perfume, I remembered it was Guerlain, but that is just the company not the specific perfume.  I could remember the box. And then it dawned on me that I had one of the boxes in a 'memories box'.  But, as it is something I rarely need to find, I couldn't remember where I had stored it or exactly what tote it was!  Hence my whirlwind tour of our attics.
This is a really sweet apron my mom made
 for me one Christmas when I was a new wife and mom!

This classic little back dress is one my mom had made and
wore as her 'going away outfit' when she and my dad married.  My 2nd eldest, Jordan wore it
to a Christmas banquet one year.

In the house attic I dug through a few totes and boxes and in the course of doing so, found some things I'd not seen in quite some time!
I peeked into several carefully wrapped up packages and found my rabbit collection (I love bunnies!) which, when the house is finally done, will find a new home.
But, I didn't find the perfume box.
I then did a quick look through the gun room attic and realized fairly quickly it wasn't in there.
So on to attic #3-the cabin.  I was able to locate, ( my memory was jarred on seeing it) a green older type tote that I knew held many of my keepsakes.  In it were letters, cards, school reports, small toys, a child's jewelry box, photos...and Mom's perfume box. I opened it up and could smell the lovely scent again.  It has to be at least 35 years old! Amazing!  (Unfortunately, only the company name Guerlain was on the box, so my search later continued on their website where we think we have found the right one!)

Mom's perfume box.
Disneyland 1975

My wedding dress!

Once I had what I was seeking in hand, I took a few moments to relish the memories this tote contained.  Birthday cards from my wonderful Granny, who passed away in 1989.  Little cards and notes sent from her over the years...all so precious.  A poem my hubby had written me on my birthday when we were young, new parents and just starting out.  Reports I had written for school, my graduation certificate... So many memories.  I cried a few tears and tucked them all back into the tote, except for a couple of mementos I had from a family trip to Disneyland when I was 13 that I wanted to show Alley and Zac, my wedding dress and my mom's black dress.
I realized today, that one day I will no longer be around (yes, I know, duh!) and all of these things I hold so dear won't mean anything to anyone else!  There are things that I want to hand on to my kids with the stories of what they are, what they mean to me.  Things that I think they will maybe pass on to my grandchildren one day along with the memories.  So, I am making my 1st New Years Resolution now....I will somehow find the time to go through my memories, and write about them, so that the things attached to the memories won't just be "something that was my mom's/grandma's", but will have the history with them.  Then, I will take each of my children and give them the things I think they will appreciate and cherish.
Alley loved my wedding dress and had to try it on!
It has also made me realize that we REALLY need to get the attics sealed up and keep the pests out!!!

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