A statement rather than a question. There was no question.
Periodically, especially after I visit someone with a beautifully spare aesthetic, I ask myself what it is about “stuff” that matters to me. The answer always seems to be connected with life lived, but not particularly my own. When I gaze around Jon’s and my living room, I see it peopled with those who went ahead. His maternal grandmother was an army matron who accompanied the troops into Europe to liberate France; her uniform belt and dog tags rest on the old turning bookcase, close to the pocket watch of Jon’s paternal grandfather. On another shelf sits the tin-type of my mother’s mother at age 8 and the embroidery Mom made for her half a century later. My father’s crystal set sits close by, with an Inuit carving which was given to him by the dear friend who had built the basic radio with Dad when they were teens. There, too, are a few of my paternal grandfather’s hand tools, and a beautiful little pot my grandmother threw. On another bookcase is my great-great-grandfather’s leather-bound “Magistrate’s Guide to Upper Canada,” which the wrote in 1851, and a collection of Tennyson signed by the next Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and given to the family’s governess, who happened to be my aunt's aunt. Although he didn’t live long enough for me to hear him play it, Grandpa Keele’s violin hangs on the wall.
While there is quite a collection of stuff, it is not a “collection”. I don’t actually collect anything, unless perhaps small wooden or lacquer boxes which are as useful as they are decorative, and Wardian cases to shelter greenery and provide sniffs of warm earth year-round. Most of what is here would be worthless to anyone else, but for us it is most precious because it is specifically speaks to our roots..
My younger self must have whispered, "Stuff it!"