August 20, 2012

inheritance, part 3

7/14 – 7/15

We talk about how Grandmama was such a pack rat, especially the infamous newspaper clippings. They were, and are, everywhere: tucked in every book, layered with cookbooks, in every box and basket, lining drawers. Anything of interest to her, or to someone she thinks might like it. 

But I realize after a little while, that I love this about her, because it’s a sign of how much she still loved learning—never quit learning. Her mind was always scanning for new information, filing things away to use sometime in the future, adding to her physical and mental collection of ideas and facts. The inquisitiveness outweighs the tangible clutter.

600 miles away, in a hotel parking lot, we roll up the door of the truck and the smell just about knocks me over. It isn’t foul. It’s already serving as a time machine, and is an on-switch for emotions and memories and mental images, in less than a second. It smells like dust and stale books and rotting wood—it smells like the garage. I can hear the back door screech open and slam closed. I can feel the humid air wrap around me with my first inhale. Why are smells so memory-linked? I can remember keeping a stuffed animal of Aunt Lucy’s, and liking the way it smelled; certain clothes of Mom’s smelled like her for a while, too. But those have faded over time. I hope these things retain their scent for a little while.

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