A whiff of the disposal of a thousand unwanted items made its pass by my wrinkled nose. A sweet smell of stale soda; a pine scent from broken furniture; but most predominantly an itching haze of dust, musky and clotted in the corners of the fifteen foot dumpster blocking the left side of my driveway. I made a ‘weird noise’ my grandson said when I saw liquid sewage dripping out of a bottom corner like a leaky faucet. A couple extra drips squeezed out as my son hauled a broken bench inside, crunching old gutters and sheet-wood beneath it.
Every crunch felt like it originated from within my heart. That bench, those shutters, the plywood, the custom billboard that greeted members of our church in the early ‘90s, were all made by Lloyd Rugen I, my husband. He was a fabulous carpenter who built the most wonderful and practical of things, and it pained me to see any of it destroyed. Every tool, every piece of wood, every toolbox and wedge had a memory and a value of his face, his skill; his life.
I wanted to cry out ‘Save that!” or “We can’t throw that away!” We were throwing away every side piece of the puzzle, and getting deeper. But not even my house, doubled in size by my husband’s hands, could handle the immensity of an old couple’s possessions, the fact that it is now entirely mine only added further burden.
I have dreams of a magical garage. A simply small room that could contain infinite shelf space and innumerable filing cabinets to store every scrap of paper, every picture, every card; every memory.
On a whim the proper storage space would fill a wall, to find or to store any which memory. Then magically the wall would restore itself back to its normal resting position, with Lloyd’s working bench on the far corner, a cobwebbed window in the middle, and random gardening tools towards the front. As it would then remain until needed again – free from mold and mice and damage of any kind.
As my grandchildren toss this and that in after the bench I give brief stories about this and about that, so that those memories would remain. It gives me peace to talk about it all, and joy that they eagerly listen.
Perhaps by my children, and the children of my children, is my dream fulfilled after all.
Created in April of 2005. Based on real people, perspectives and events.