To understand a man, you must know his memories.
— Anthony Quayle
Whenever I visit my parents in central Pennsylvania, one of our favorite things to do together is go to auctions. You would not believe the stuff people will pay good money for, and the stuff you can get for cheap, too.
Basically what happens is, someone dies and either has no family and no will, or the family has to sell the estate to pay debts or medical bills or something like that. It’s actually quite sad sometimes. I once opened the drawer of an old desk and found a half-used roll of address labels and an old to-do list. I wondered if he died before he got everything done.
Sometimes, if no one bids on an item, they start adding stuff to the lot – a box of miscellaneous kitchen tools, a chipped vase, a box of books; whatever’s not a big ticket item – until finally someone takes the lot for a dollar or two. This is how I came into possession of someone else’s memories.
What I’ve got is a small box of somewhere between 300 and 400 color slides. The ones that are dated range from March 1965 t0 June 1976, but there are many that do not have dates. They are pictures of weddings, birthday parties, Christmases, babies, first days of school, summer vacations, fathers and sons, mothers and babies, and all of the other wonderful things that go into making up a person’s life.
When we got them home, no one knew what to do with them. I think I intended to look at them once using my mom’s slide projector and then give them away because I hated the idea that this person’s lifetime of memories would be unremembered forever, but I never got around to it. My parents brought the box to me a couple of weeks ago along with the rest of the few things I’d left in their garage.
I don’t know what to do with them. I don’t have a slide projector, but I can’t bear to throw them out. Any ideas? If anyone wants them, I would ship them to you (my treat); just leave me a comment or email me and we can make arrangements. Otherwise, I’ll probably pack them up and stick them in the closet and find them when we move out and wonder what to do with them all over again. I don’t mind being the guardian of his memories a little while longer.