I’m a hoarder.
I hoard paper, photos, t-shirts, cozy socks, cookies, memories, books.
Especially books. And memories.
I’m not so compulsive to be recruited for a reality TV show, but I’m bad enough that closets are always full and there’s never enough storage space.
Not in my house, not in my brain.
Despite this need to hang on, each time I have moved homes (about 6 or 7 times in adulthood), I’ve let go of things I didn’t think I would need anymore.
I purge — in the rapid, violent way the word evokes.
Goodbye to the japanime LeSportSac bag I coveted. Sayonara to the collector’s set of Leonardo DiCaprio movies on VHS. Farewell to the Fall-inspired finger paintings done by my son when he was 18 months old.
When we moved to Israel, a country that does not believe in closets, nor basements, my husband and I did a major purge — in the form of a yard sale and of giveaways to friends and neighbors. But there were about a dozen boxes we knew not to bother opening — for they would go into storage until we figured out exactly what this aliyah thing would mean for our family.
Boxes sealed in brown packing tape marked in hastily drawn capital letters:
AVI’S OLD PAINTINGS
MIXED TAPES, SCHOOL PAPERS OF JEN’S, DO NOT THROW AWAY!!!!!!
Those boxes landed in Israel on a cargo ship a few weeks ago and eventually — after the usual Israeli-style run-around at customs — arrived in our storage room/bomb shelter last week.
Carefully, carefully I am opening those cardboard boxes.
Because they aren’t just cardboard boxes, you know.
They are Pandora’s. Modern day Pandora’s boxes.
Carefully… because danger lurks in the folded over corners of hoarded memories
just as often as joyful surprise.
Carefully… because yellowed papers inside a stale smelling tupperware container may easily transform into messages in a bottle.
Carefully… because when you save, when you keep, when you store away, you might just get what you wish for one day–
a portal into the past.
a light unto what was once dark.
* * *
Watch this space to see what I discover inside a set of boxes.