In case you were wondering

When I was a teenager, I had a favorite poem that went like this:

When to distant waterfalls I roam, I dream of my wisteria at home.

No doubt an Englishman wrote it, but I don’t know who these days.

I don’t grow wisteria, in fact I ripped them out of my back yard owing to their tendency to take over. In the South they have been known to topple whole buildings.  But I do have the feelings for home similar to those expressed by this poet.

Perhaps it is because I spent so much time traveling when I was an active participant in the labor force. Perhaps it is the effect of being relatively rootless throughout my childhood, but all I want to do these days is stay home.

Another favorite poem went:

 “Breathes there a man with soul so dead, that he has never to himself said:”This is my own my native land?” 

For me that’s the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Another poet wrote:

I’m glad my house is a little house, Not too tall or wide. I’m glad the hovering butterflies feel free to come inside.”

Yes, I have been clearing out again because I can see into the future, and the future does not include this house.  David and I are having much difficulty keeping things going…it takes two of us. If and when there is only one of us the inevitable will happen.

As I tossed file drawers of decades old ‘stuff’ away yesterday (I made David actually carry it to the recycle bin), I looked over the hundreds of pages of news clippings, magazine articles, notes about my various TV and radio appearances, some of which I have on tape; notes of approval from higher up bosses in my organization as well as letters of commendation, photographs from newspapers and magazines; Reports I wrote as a Congressional staffer, and testimony before Congress years later. I felt a bit torn. 

“You should keep that stuff,” says David, the only witness to my brilliant career. 

What are you going to do, pour over it and weep if I predeceased you? My kids won’t want it, they might like to hear about grandma so-in-so, but who cares if I got an outstanding evaluation one year.  I don’t even care anymore.

NO, I wasn’t on the pity pot, just being realistic. I can’t think of anything more boring than the small wins and losses of ones business career.  What seemed like triumphs at the time, seem small and insignificant now.  After all, I might have worked in the Finance Department, but I did not make 20 million as a financier.  And, I might have been on radio and TV from time to time, but am not Meryl Streep.  Except for Hillary, I eschew political tales, although I tried reading Jane Fonda’s bio and got bored, and look at the commotion she caused.  


When I say I read bios, I mean certain famous people.  I have read at least six biographies about Jane Austen, and even took two continuing education classes at Georgetown on her life and works.  Ditto Virginia Woolf, George Sand, Janet Frame,and the crazy Anne Sexton. 

I have yet another Jane Austen bio on my Kindle (more about this later). I have also read most of M.F.K. Fisher’s memoirs. And, a day or two ago, I started Julia Child’s new bio Dearie. When I was a graduate history student, I read several biographies about Margaret Thatcher and Sir Winston, as well as other bios about British notables.    


On the other hand, I love to hear about my friend’s adventures and experiences, which is why I read the blogs I continue to read.  Perhaps that’s the key.  I don’t read bios to read bios, I read them because I genuinely care about someone.  


Anyway, I am doing what we all must do and clear the clutter away, from our houses, from our minds, etc.  Besides, I need drawer space for all the yarn I have been accumulating.  Do I hear someone scratching at the door? But I don’t have cats anymore. 

And in case you wondered, my begonia just keeps giving and giving which is why I will stay home until October when I fly to CA to see my son and his family and meet Mage in person.


21 thoughts on “In case you were wondering

  1. Good comments here about clearing out old stuff. I’ve been moving gingerly into the task for some time. It is true that things I though were important some time ago have become insignificant.


  2. Oh, I love wisteria, but it would never grow in this heavy clay soil so I won’t attempt it.

    I know what you mean about not keeping things as no one will want them. I have seen it happen, after a person has died, and someone must go through their things that they thought so wonderful but no one else does. I say throw it out now so that someone who must do the task later does not grumble about all the stuff you should have dumped years ago.


  3. Not too long after I retired I tossed everything that had to do with my career. It was very liberating to get rid of all that stuff and it allowed me to think about the future. I still have lots of other things I need to get rid of.


  4. Husband and I are sporadically dealing with all those bits and pieces of our past, but you are an encouragement not to get too sporadic. And we, too, are noticing that the reponsibilities of home ownership are becoming more difficult. Those blooms are so lovely.


  5. Having gone thru a few boxes myself, I hear what you’re saying about those long-ago triumphs at work, which were so important then, and how insignificant they seem today. You just can’t help but wonder — how did I think that was such a big deal?

    I, too, hate pawing thru that old dusty stuff and trying to make a decision about what to keep (practically nothing) and what to throw away (almost all of it).


  6. Today I cleared a room of everything that moved, Even the bed was taken apart. Now to decide what goes back and what can be repurposed! I knew a family where the father sat them all down every ten years. The purpose of this meeting was to look back at what they had done and achieved anfd then to plan for the next decade!


  7. Wisteria are beautiful plants. I frequently get them mixed up with lilacs.

    As for what heritage we leave, I’ve put a short synopsis of the highlights of my life on a flash drive for my kids and grand kids to see only after I’m gone. It’s kind of a chronological history of what I consider important events in my life. Of course, their births are high on the list. I’m slowly getting rid of the paper and tangible crap that I’ve accumulated.I certainly don’t have to worry about TV and radio appearances — there were none.


  8. I love biographies of literary folks. I’m reading one on C.S. Lewis now and recently finished a kind of biography of Truman Capote. I would love to read one on Jane Austen, as I’m going to be teaching ‘Pride and Prejudice’ this semester. Since you’ve read several, do you have a recommendation?



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