When I was a kid I collected people. Yes, this is a weird Monday Memories submission, but aren’t they all? When I was a kid I collected memories of people, in the form of objects. I was pretty sure I might not see people again, that they might disappear, so I kept things that they gave me just in case. So I could remember them. I mean, I was too little to own a camera. Plus, back then, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, cameras had film that had to be developed. I doubt my parents had any interest in paying to develop all of the knee shots I would have taken of people. Of course, if they had given me a camera, this would be a weird post about all of the pictures of knees I had collected as a child. I’m not sure if that would be better or worse than what I am about to tell you. Either way, I’m pretty sure you are going to be referring me to the men in white coats after reading this nonsense of mine and I don’t blame you one bit. I mean, I’ve been called eccentric more than a few times over the course of my life. Anyway, lets get this over with. Nobody likes a whispering rambler.
I collected sticks of gum once to remember someone. Let me back up here a bit before I sound even crazier than I probably already do. When I was born my mom was only 18 years old. We lived with her parents (my grandparents). When I was three my mother married my dad. Well, he was my step-dad technically, but since I cannot remember before he came into our lives, and I have never met my biological father, he was my dad. If you ever hear me (or read me) talking about my dad, it’s my step-dad because, in reality, he was my real dad and always will be.
Still with me? So, my dad was in the navy and we moved a lot. A LOT. So, people would come into my life for a few years, we’d move, and I’d never see those people again. Some I would see again, but years later, and to a small child, that might as well be forever. I mean, two years to a five year old is like 25 to an adult.
So, sometimes I kept things that people gave me.
Like sticks of gum.
I had a secret box that used to be a sewing kit and I kept all of my people memorbillia in it. It was a strange cardboard box covered with pea green and pink flowered fabric. It had flaps that folded, in an odd and elaborate way, that created a cover you could never lose. I might put a movie stub or a button or a sticker that someone gave me into that box. It moved with me a few times. The gum got really stale and hard. Then it got sort of brittle. Finally it turned into a melty, sticky mush that had to be scraped out of the box. I had the same problem with a few candy bars too. I saved cards and shoelaces and pieces of lace. Some items were given to me. Some were just things left behind that I placed into my pocket for safe keeping. Maybe I was a bit of a memory thief? I don’t know for sure. I also kept money that people gave me. It was too special to spend or to put into my piggy bank. So, shiny quarters held a special place in that box alongside the sticks of gum and melted candy bars.
For all of my collecting of people and saving of memories, I have no idea what happened to that box or it’s contents. One day I must have outgrown my need to save objects to remember people, or maybe I couldn’t remember the people anyway and so the objects lost all of their significance. I’m not sure, really. All I know is I collected people like they might disappear and in the end they disappeared anyway or got thrown away with rotting sticks of gum. All of that saving for nothing!
Still, even now, I am very sentimental about things. I keep books, and pictures, and little notes that people have given me over the years. I have them stored away in plastic bins in my basement. I have my own mini time capsules. One day we will all disappear, but there will be a record of all the people who touched my life, waiting to be discovered in the basement. I feel a little sorry for Tiny-Small because she will likely be the one forced to wade through it and wonder why her mom kept napkins with notes from old boyfriends and gum wrappers and Chinese fortune cookie fortunes and locks of hair. She’s going to feel like a bit of a time traveler and will likely marvel that people ever wrote things down on paper at all.
Want to read some other Monday memories? Click on the box and visit the amazing and funny Quirky Chrissy.