I am surrounded by boxes of memories, furniture, and china that have never really belonged to me.

I am the caretaker for what I salvaged from my inheritance, and it feels a lot like living inside of a storage unit. As I embark on a major re-organization of my studio (in actually the second bedroom in my apartment, which functions more as art room and personal office), this is hit home to me. I have to make room for storage bins full of my mother’s scrapbooks, my father’s military records (a whole bin — what happens when your “30 years” spans 1941 to 1976, from WWII to Viet Nam), and my own homeschool documents. One whole closet is stuffed top to bottom with boxes I have been waiting two decades to unpack. Half my living room is encumbered with my father’s military trunks, all of them filled with stuff — although to be fair, one is used for Halloween decoration storage.

I don’t really mind. I would not have much, if it weren’t for what I have inherited. And, in the end, it’s all I have left of my parents.

I’ve accumulated more of my own furniture in the last five years than in the previous fifteen, though, and it’s odd to look around at the mish mash. The studio is less of a storage unit than it ever has been — instead of being crowded into a corner by my past, I’ve shuttled things aside and away, making room for my copious art supplies and comic book collection. I’m finally organizing it all so it can be used, rather than hoarded.

I am convinced there will come a day when everything, every single damn box, gets emptied, when I get to see my grandmother’s hot chocolate serving set again and mother’s scrapbooks get properly archived like the historical documents they are. When Poppa’s medals are excavated and racked and put in a shadow box. That will take living in a house and having time to delve into those shadowed histories.

For now, my storage unit has, at least, become more comfortable and homey. Just in time for the holidays.

 


Also published on Medium.

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