February 02, 2012

Six Orange Crates and Epiphany in A Fortune Cookie

Wayne and me Spring 1970
Eighteen years old and headed for college--that was years ago. At the time I was living in Mesa, AZ, and on "move in" day at Grand Canyon College (now a university), my best friend Wayne rolled into the driveway with a borrowed VW van. I had everything ready for him: six orange crates packed with everything I owned.

Since then I've moved a gazillion times, each time with an ever increasing accumulation of life's flotsam. The last time I moved, I got rid of an antique piano and six bookshelves of books,  untold bins of research, sacks of clothes I no longer wore, pictures, paintings, pots, pans, canning jars, salves and ointments that my youngest swore were around before he was born.

I'm moving again, and again weeding. I've tossed at least 300 books this time around. I've tossed hundreds of files, box after box of ever more research, garden boots, clarinet music from junior high (goaded by my youngest who says I'll never again play music so littered with black notes), even paper dolls I've been hauling around since I was ten years old and living in Northern California.

Each time I've gone through this process, I've inevitably thought of Wayne and that beastly hot day in Phoenix when he helped transport my six orange crates of belongings into a small dorm room and the rest of my life. Where did all this stuff come from? What happened to the days when I needed so little to create a corner of home for myself?

Where did all this come from?
The recession's hit a lot of people hard, me included, and from time to time I've felt a bit blue. But not long ago I found this epiphany in a fortune cookie: Accept something that you cannot change, and you will feel better. I thought of those six orange crates and how happy I'd been. Why feel blue over a recession? Especially since once upon a time, eighteen years old, I'd felt so happy, and with so little? I called Wayne. Which is why I'm selling my house for what I can get and boxing everything else up for storage: Wayne will invest what I can salvage.

People ask, "But where will you live?" I actually have three places I can go before heading for Banff the end of March to drive summer tour buses:

1--with a friend on Drayton Harbor;
2--in a cottage on Storm Lake;
3--at my youngest's condo overlooking Lake Whatcom.
Okay, 4--my mother.

The more common question has been, "But what if the market doesn't turn around?" They're asking, What if the midnight hour should strike?

I know exactly what will happen. Should midnight strike and I lose everything, I'll still have six orange crates and not just Wayne but many friends. And I'll be bouncing down some freeway or the other, off to some kind of "college"and the rest of my life, where it truly takes very little to create a corner of home for myself. 

Wayne and me, 2009, and 4 of my 6 orange crates, 2012

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