Aug 26, 2014

The Memories of Things

Yiayia made via loom rug.

Twice in the past three weeks I've gone down to Chicago with my mom to clear out my grandparents' house. Yiayia is still alive, while Papou passed while I was in Ethiopia, but while going through all the closets and drawers I felt like we were preparing for when she is gone.  Yiayia will never set foot in her house again, and Mom and I kept making decisions based on whether we felt something was useful to us personally or could be sold at the estate sale in October.

It was a little depressing, there are such amazing things in that house that we had no idea what do with. What made them amazing was the stories my mom had to tell about them.

"I can't believe they still have this trunk! We came over from Greece with it."

"This suitcase was part of my dowry."

"These curtains were from our old home in Chicago. They were supposed to stay in the house! How did my mom get them?"

"See these rugs? Yiayia made them herself on a loom."

"That's not a rug, that's a table cloth. You covered tables with a heavy cloth over there in winter."

"That's not ouzo, that's homemade raki from your aunt. Remember when we went to Greece and Dad had half a shot? He's so big and that alone he felt when he stood up. Why are there twelve bottles? When were they going to drink it? When will we?"

"Gwen, this bag is full of tea leaves. Did I ever tell how you to pick and dry them?"

Old Papou hat that I would love to turn into a costume.
While going through the house was sad, it wasn't as bad as I had been dreading. It was actually a great time to reconnect with my mom, learn things about my yiayia and papou. But what fascinated me was how the simplest little thing that could send my mom down memory lane.

I didn't have a lot of items in Ethiopia, you use something till it's worn out and then burn it. You can't afford to keep sentimental things. You don't have a lot of space to keep it, and honestly many people don't have the money to buy things that aren't necessary. Memories and stories were triggered by events and other stories. You couldn't even flip through photographs to help with recall.

I guess it's just amazing to me how one little thing can open up a flood gate of words that I never knew existed.

0 comments:

Post a Comment