The last couple of weeks have been a challenge in a number of ways. First we get this awful and needless death by a police officer in the USA and that seems to have sparked madness with riots destruction and violence. Now we have the great and good falling over themselves to be more ‘pc’ by banning artworks and statues endlessly. The vitriol on Facebook was just too much so I deactivated my account and just don’t miss it.
I write (badly very probably) more because I just wanted to capture some of what I was learning in the FIRE world and as I started to reflect a bit more in retirement. I wanted to somehow make a bit more sense of it. I have no desire for a great following, nor monetization. It is really all for me. (That said, if people like it and get something from it then great).
So I very nearly closed it all up. As societies we seem to have lost something of who we once were, and no I don’t mean the colonial past, slavery or any of that stuff. I really mean, we seem to have lost the ability to be tolerant, respectful and law abiding. To move things by discussion and argument of points. It is just so ugly right now.
So coupled with the next phase of dealing with my late mums estate – the house, has rather been a bit much over the past 2 weeks. I rather underestimated how emotional it is to distil a life down to a few objects.
I thought, small 2 bed bungalow, not that many ‘things’, won’t take long. What I did not bank on is mum could have packed for a navy crew of a submarine !
I have never seen so much stuff so neatly packed away in places I never knew existed. Its a small 2 bed bungalow !!
I mean…. 50-odd pairs of shoes, 40-odd handbags, and wait for it, each on with a nail file, packet of tissues and sundry ladies ‘essentials’ so all she had to do was pull one out, put her purse in and go.
It is endless and we have another 2 days next week to go and try to finish, or rather more likely, get closer to the finish.
Vast, vast, endless boxes of photographs. I thought I had already brought her pictures home to go through, but no. I missed the equivalent of maybe 500 rolls worth (I recon 15,000+ images spanning 70+ years). Pictures I had never seen before of when my mum was in teacher training college (where she met my dad). Pictures from when we lived in Uganda. Pictures of distant and long lost relatives. And mum being organised, she invariably wrote on the back the who, where & when note.
And the letters. She was of an age where writing (usually annually or on birthdays) was normal. There were reams of letters from a lady called Judith from my mums home town. Clearly about the same age and I wonder if this was the Judith that mum met at primary school and was clearly a lifelong friend. I need to write and ask, as she will be completely unaware that since the annual christmas letter, mum has died. Also, correspondence to the parents of an old school friend who I have not seen in 44 years (as teenage boys do.. we fell out and then moved away, but the ‘mums’ stayed in touch all those years, so I know what Neil has done all his life).
I did not go through them all as I sifted the rubbish to be thrown – it will be a nice few evenings and weekends to do that. I say ‘few’ optimistically !
So why ‘Good’ ?
I looked at some of these pictures and some of the letters and I remembered when they were taken, or who the people were from when I was young. I smiled and could remember some of the joy, or the angst of life as it once was.
The world we live in now is digital. We take industrial levels of pictures with our smart phones. Where we once took 2 or 3 rolls of 36-films on a weeks holiday and got maybe 6 that were any good, we now take 100’s and almost all are bad, but because storage is cheap we never delete anything. Just on my main computer (not backed up to storage or the cloud), I have over 92,000 images totalling 315G of storage. I just have not looked at the backed up side.
We so rarely print anything digital. It is funny but we only have one wedding picture in the house. All our wedding pics were digital and we have the whole lot. Occasionally look over on screen, but only one in the end we ever printed. Or to be more accurate, we never got round to making an ‘album’.
When I die, who will look at these thousands of images and conjurer up the past memories, smile and one last time remember ? Will anyone ever bother ?
I wonder whether I need to start saving the special ones, having them printed and creating some physical albums just so when we pass, there will be someone to look one last time and remember.