New year, old resolutions

Photo by Barbara Ellis

Here I go again: another new year but same old resolutions. It’s time to clean house and get rid of things I have hung on to for far too long. It’s time to reduce the clothes in my closet, things I haven’t worn for years, and can’t fit into anymore; time to get rid of the books I have kept and will never read again; time to also get rid of my CDs that are gathering dust and I no longer play.

Yes, here I go again, full of enthusiasm with a will to match. Probably best to start with my storage locker in the basement.

The first box I open contains letters, old letters, some from my parents and grandfather. I will never throw away my parent’s letters because for me it would almost be like sacrilege, so for now, I will put them aside and re-read them later.

What about my grandfather’s letters which are written in Hungarian? He used a fountain pen and had beautiful penmanship so I won’t have too much trouble reading them. Yes, I will read them before I throw them away, I owe him that much. All these letters will have to go, someday, but not today.

Next, I open a binder that has protected and stored the first stories I tried to write. In the same binder, I find the beginnings of a book I attempted to write but never finished. Well, these papers will certainly have to be shredded, but not today

The first green storage bin I lift off the shelf is titled Christmas decorations. While I have not put up a tree in a very long time, I am reluctant to throw away all my tree ornaments, the music boxes and the beautiful star that crowned my tree.

Maybe next Christmas I can add these to the decorations we put up on my floor. It would certainly add sparkle to the festive season. Yes, I will sort through all these and give them away, but not today.

Next, the green bin stores several milk glass vases and candy dishes that once belonged to my mother. Milk glass was very popular in the 60s and 70s but now no one wants them, anyway, I am not ready to recycle my mother’s treasures. Maybe next year, but not today.

At the bottom of the bin, I find a big brown envelope and as I tilt it, the contents spill out onto my lap. Oh, for heaven’s sake! Photos of Aunt Gizi taken in the garden of her house. Well, she wasn’t exactly family, but my sister and I adopted her and she loved that we called her “Aunt.”

Her house sat on the shores of Rose Bay, in Sydney, and I have such happy memories of our visits with her.  We loved spending time with her listening to her stories while we gorged on the fabulous cakes and cookies she baked for us. Now, there is no one I can share these photos and memories with, so, they too will have to be shredded, but not today.

Next, I open a shoe box and smile as I look at the doll resting inside.  “Hello Daisy, long time no see,” I hear myself say out loud. This little doll is very, very old. She was a used doll when she was given to me back in 1947. At that time, we were living in Switzerland and I became very ill with Rheumatic Fever which confined to my bed for over a month.

As I look down at this little figure, I remember the many hours I would talk to her, pretend to be her teacher and tried to teach her all the things I learned in school. She would sit very patiently, with that cute smile on her face, listening attentively to my childish games. Daisy helped me endure those long lonely hours of confinement.

At night, I placed her in her little bed that sat on the end table next to my bed, I would tuck her in and kiss her goodnight.

I loved this little doll very much and I gently pat her tiny body, still attired in her originally knitted pink undergarment, bonnet and dress. I smile as I touch the capital D proudly embroidered on her chest. Her body is made of hard plastic and time has not been kind to her left arm and I know I am responsible for the damage.

I was probably careless and maybe I held her too tightly, in any case, her left arm is shattered and lies next to her body in multiple pieces. This little one will never be whole again, and getting an arm to replace the damaged one, would be impossible. I should put an end to her life, her very long and well-travelled life. She moved from continent to continent with me, and now she rests here in retirement with me. Yes, she will have to go, but not today.

Next, I pick up a plastic bag which contains a stuffed Panda Bear I bought at the Calgary Zoo in 1988. Apart from one ear that had been chewed and mutilated by my cat, this bright-eyed Panda is in good shape.

I hold it to my body, squeeze it a little, close my eyes and allow myself to be transported back in time. It is such a happy memory that warm and sunny day when my niece Colleen and I visited the Zoo. We stood watching those black and white curiosities relaxing and eating their dinner. Yes, I will have to throw the Panda away, but not today.

I close my locker. Nothing accomplished. This is harder than I thought it was going to be. Not easy this business of throwing away my past. Perhaps I will do better upstairs with the clothes in my closet.