Thursday, July 23, 2020

A Tale of Treasures and Trash

Once upon a time, I wrote a blog post about my mish mosh drawer. Really.

 Here it is, in all its glory. Our mish mosh drawer. Do you have one? 

Maybe you call it a junk drawer. It's in the kitchen and it holds any manner of one of a kind items, gadgets, coupons, missing pieces, and more. The mish mosh drawer pictured above could be a carefully constructed photograph for an I-Spy challenge. But it's not. This is our mish mosh drawer in its natural habitat, with no alterations.

I remembered this post yesterday as I went through the contents of our current mish mosh drawer, which is a good deal smaller. It turns out that the original was prime real estate and its contents were evicted to make way for new occupants. This is the size of the new one.

As my time in self isolation has lengthened, my willingness to tackle long-neglected household chores has increased. When this skinny little drawer stopped closing, I knew it was time. 

First, a purely unscientific rendering of what was in the drawer.

Next, an artistic assemblage of what was left.

It contains many things you would expect:

Twist-ties, chip clips, straws, skewers, wooden ice cream spoons, a singing birthday candle, a flashlight.

Some you might not expect: 

Emery boards, nail scissors, a Wegman’s gift card, a hot pink glitter crayon, a treasure/potion bottle, a tiny clothes pin, a tiny tube of white paint, a band-aid, a paint brush, and exactly twenty-six cents.

It also contains tiny clues of things that have been important to me through the years:

A postcard from Grandma and Grandpa from one of their many Ireland trips, the Arts Advocate pin I got at the Festival of the Arts moving sale, LGBTQ rainbow pin and ribbon, bright green wristbands from a Chrysalis event at Merriweather Park in Symphony Woods, pins from the late Community blogger Dennis Lane's memorial service at MPP, a campaign  button from when I ran for the CA Board from Oakland Mills.

Oh, and one fortune from Lucky’s China Inn that reads:

Your dearest dream is coming true.

Treasures. In a historical archivist’s world, ephemera. 

If you have gotten this far and wonder if there is a point to all this, this answer is: maybe. When I look at all the things that have piled up in this little drawer I think about the things that make us who we are. Things we value and treasure. Things you wouldn’t expect. The utilitarian things that help us function in the day to day. And all the junk that gets in the way and keeps us from seeing who we are. 

It’s a lot like the things I address when I write this blog. I ask a lot of questions. What do we value? What is just junk and needs to go in the trash? What makes us a better community? What holds us back? 

Reading a blog post is just a beginning. Rather like going through a mish mosh drawer. The real story is told in what comes next. What choices do we make? What actions do we take? Are we ready to face what we have learned or will we just stuff it all away like junk in a drawer? 

I’m not sure what I’ll do with my collection of personal treasures but I’m pretty sure I’ll put the fortune on my refrigerator where I’ll see it more often. 

What’s in your mish mosh drawer?

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