Coping is as coping does. Me, I’m attacking my Fibber McGee family history closet.
It is arguable that this is the worst project I could undertake since I am isolated and already filled with dread and anger. With every envelope and box I open, ghosts waft out. Loss is freshened and grief revisited. I miss these places and these people long gone — who were they and why did they make the choices they made?
You’d think, given the load of paper they left me, I’d find the answers. Not a chance.
There are photos and negatives (remember negatives?), deeds, receipts, bank books, letters, post cards, diplomas, telegrams, cocktail napkins, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks…the Smithsonian of, yes, oddments. What a tell-all lurks! If only I could figure out the “all” to tell!
For now, I sift and sort. One bit of history at a time.
Take, for instance, this historical scrap, which, in other circumstances, would be timely: my dad’s tax return for 1941, the year he and Mom were married, shows the princely income of $2674.68. But, even better, his whole return was completed on a one-page — one page! — 8.5 x 11 tax form. If you live in the USA, you are grabbing for the smelling salts.
Or this: the bedroom furniture you see in this photo — bed, chest, dresser — was purchased in 1946 for $79. I think they got their money’s worth.
The flip side of this way of coping is that I can write about it. Blogging is coping, yes? Maybe in the writing I’ll get to some of the answers I seek. Or maybe I’ll learn to ask different questions.