Holy Mackerel - For all my complaining about the lack of fresh ingredients in winter, you'd think that by the time summer rolled around I'd be cooking incessantly. But t...
Monday, January 5, 2009
Keepsakes and memories
Over the weekend, in an attempt to start the new year with a tidy apartment, I finally went through 4 brown bags of my mother's books.
Sally was quite the reader. When I was a kid, her favorite spot was curled up in bed, two pillows propped behind her, reading a book. Around 9PM I'd bring up her favorite beverage: Lemon Soothers tea with honey and a wedge of fresh lemon. Settling the mug on a pink Kleenex coaster, she'd smile at me and then turn back to Tuesdays with Morrie or the newest smutty novel from Danielle Steel. Occasionally I'd bring a book upstairs and hijack Dad's side of the bed, eager to snuggle beside her.
But these 4 bags didn't include Morrie or Danielle. These were my mom's books from her 20s. How do I know? On the front flap of each book she wrote her maiden name and NYC west village apartment. The collection was a strange mix: trashy '70s romance, classic poetry, Jewish fiction, and female anatomy 101.
My question to you: What do I do with my mother's books? Will holding onto her books help me hold onto my mother? Or is it just paper bound together, collecting dust on a shelf, better suited for Salvation Army than for offering me any salvation? Do we need keepsakes to remember the dead?