Hold the Trash

Hold The Trash

Sept10-2Even after four years, I still have not cleared all of my parents things out of my childhood home where I now live.  There are a lot of things.  And if it’s in a room in which I never enter, it bothers me none.

However, I finally decided to sort through the Christmas boxes in my basement.  I made two stacks – 1. I may use these to decorate this holiday season 2. these decorations would never be a part of my celebration.

Once I’d gone through about 20 boxes and bags, there was an old, brown paper bag sitting on the floor hiding in a corner of my basement.  When I first glanced in it, all I saw was an empty video reel about size of a 45 rpm record.  I was getting ready to toss it into my trash pile, but my fingers kept digging deeper inside.  Tucked under the empty reel were about 10 blue video reels the size of the bottom of soda can.  And the reels had labels.  One said “1979, Michelle’s Birthday”. Another was labeled “1980 trip to Georgia”.

Hidden in this trashed brown paper bag, were treasures that I could never re-create.  Inside this simple object were memories of my childhood.  In my hands I now held videos of my parents – two people that I will never physically be able to see again on this Earth.  I was on Cloud 9!!!!!  I immediately drove to the closest video store to see if they could transfer the reels to DVD.

I nervously waited for a week in hopes that the videos would contain some footage.  Our basement was flooded in the late 90′s and a lot of things were ruined.  Since those videos were found on the basement floor, I didn’t know if they had been damages as well.  As I picked the videos, I rushed home and down to my basement to see what had been discovered.  I saw footage of several of my birthday parties, a recording when my dad taped my second grade class performing plays, a family gathering with my cousins, aunts and uncle and my friends and I playing outside at Mallgate.

Only about 3 of the 9 videos actually had sound, but I had a smile on my face the entire time.  For the first time in 18 years (since my father passed away) I was able to watch my parents together in action.  What a blessing to run across that bag.  If you haven’t done so already – take plenty of pictures and videos of your family.  You may not feel you personally have a use for them, but I can guarantee you that once you have left this earth, the people left behind will cherish them!

(PS: If anyone is an old school techie that has an interest in a Sankyo Super 8 Sound-500, let me know)

M.Y. September 2010

Time For Change

Time For Change

Mar09-2When you’re an only child that has lost both of your parents, you inherit a lot of things.  One of those things was my childhood home which I moved back into in 2006.  It took me a good amount of time to go through 25 years worth of my parents’ items.  For a long time, I just left everything the way it was.  The furniture stayed the same.  The flowered wallpaper in the kitchen looked at me each and every morning. My father’s 16 foot train set took up its special space in the basement.  The wood paneled walls in the basements didn’t change.   Most people didn’t even know I had a basement because I never went down there.  I always said I wanted to update it away from the 80s look and make it my own.
In 2007, I started getting bids from contractors.  I never followed through.  They would call me to see if I had made a decision, and I would say I wasn’t ready just yet.  As ugly as I thought it was, I wasn’t ready to make that change.
Finally in 2008, I knew the time was right.  I worked with Rateau Construction and we came up with a plan to completely remodel my basement  – ceilings, walls and floors and to update my kitchen.   It was fun to pick out the colors of paint, countertops and appliances.  They started work on the Monday after Thanksgiving and the basement was first.  When I walked downstairs after the first day, the first thing I noticed was that my father’s train set was gone.  Nowhere to be found.  This massive train project had been a beautiful display for over 20 years in my home.  I was sad at first and wondered if I were doing the right thing with making changes.  I then realized that memories are forever and I reminded myself that I can kept a small piece of the train set upstairs so that it will always be a part of me.
One step at a time, I watched the changes being made.  And with each step of the process, I slowly felt my childhood home becoming my modern day adult home.   I am in love with the changes that have been made and now have a completely new sense of home.  I feel like right now I have the best of both worlds.  I can walk into various rooms that still display my family’s art work or my mother’s accomplishments.  I can easily locate childhood momentos.  However, I can  sit comfortably in front of my flat screen tv in the basement and feel that the ‘adult me’ is also leaving my mark of this wonderful home!

Your change my not be physical changes to your house, maybe they are personal changes to your life.  Whatever transition you are going through, don’t let others tell you when the time is right.  Take your time, think things through and when the time right – you’ll know it!

M.Y.  March 2009

Happy Father’s Day

“Happy Father’s Day”

   My father passed away when I was a senior in high school.  He was one of the most creative, intelligent and artistic people I knew.  My father was actually the one who cooked most of the meals, made my Halloween costumes and helped me with class projects.  He even built a balance beam made of wood in the backyard so I could practice my gymnastics.  His big passion was trains!

When my parents passed away, I moved into the house where I grew up.  Still today in the basement is the train you see in the picture.  This train is over 6 feet long and my father created every piece of it.  I remember when I was younger my friends would come over and think it was the coolest thing.  I, too,  still think its cool every time I look at it, I just don’t know what to do with.

Whether living or dead, I hope everyone takes the time this weekend to reflect on a special memory/time you had with your father.  I sure miss mine.

M.Y.  June 2007