After being at ground zero on 9/11, I decided to took some time off to pursue a life-long dream of living in San Francisco. I put all my things in storage and moved out to SF for a while. I lived on the west coast for about a year and although I loved it, San Francisco is like a jewel, I missed NY too much.
In any event, I noticed that for two months in a row my checks to the storage facility, had not been cashed. I called them to find out why and GASP, their was a fire in the warehouse and everything had burnt down. All my worldly possessions gone!
I’m a professional organizer as you know so I have no problem letting things go but this was a lot even for me. As I reflect on that experience (and even at the time) I felt like it was cathartic – an opportunity for a fresh start in a post 9/11 world perhaps. There were things however that I did miss and still feel somewhat wistful about. Here is my list:
- My books from college – I studied literature in college, everything from the Iliad to what was one of the raciest books at the time, Brett Easton Ellis’s Less Than Zero. I loved those books. The underlined and highlighted passages, the feel and smell of them. They were like Proust’s madeleine for me. Each time I picked up one of those Penguin or Signet classics, I was transported back to my college days. I was sad to see them go. A new copy of Hamlet would never be the same as the one I read in college.
- A collage of childhood photos from my grandmother’s kitchen in Corfu (Greece) – My grandparent’s kept childhood photos of my siblings, cousins and me on their kitchen wall. Over the years it turned into a collage which my grandmother eventually framed. After they passed away I brought this family treasure back to NY with the intention of changing the frame or perhaps turning into lacquered table top. Thankfully, I had taken a photo of it in her kitchen before taking it down!
- An antique chair from my brother – My brother is a big fan of antiques and although it is not my particular style, he had given me a green side chair that I had re-purposed as a desk chair that I loved. He moved to Greece with his family as an adult and that chair always reminded me of him. It had history and meaning for me.
What has history and meaning for you? What are some of your most prized possessions?