“There have been horror films set in storage facilities,” says Gil.
“I can only imagine,” says Maud.
Gil likes to run the cart through to our storage locker, especially if he’s got Maud for a passenger.
We’ve kept about half our belongings in the deep freeze since moving to the Cabin.
Too. Much. Stuff.
“Every increased possession loads us with new weariness,” said John Ruskin. What did John Ruskin know about it? Between the English countryside and Mayfair, he had plenty of space to stash his private editions and his watercolors.
Will we ever find Maud’s backpack and sleeping pad so she’ll be equipped for her next adventure? She’s going to New Mexico to conduct research for her senior thesis, on descansos, the elaborate roadside shrines that mark auto fatalities. In New Mexico they’re very grand and very sad.
In A&E’s “Storage Wars,” people bid on the contents of repossessed storage lockers after looking for ten minutes at just the front of the container. Bidders get excited and spend a lot on what turns out to be junk. Our locker wouldn’t inspire much action.
Television also brings us a scene in “Breaking Bad” where Walter White opens a typically bland looking locker to find his wife has used it to hide an enormous brick of cash, probably 4′ by 10′ by 10′. Only thing about it is they can’t spend this treasure or he’ll go to jail. For a long time. Walt asks how much is there and Skyler says, I have no idea.
You could say that about the number of books stored in our cage.
“Is there anything we put away in storage that you miss having?” I ask Maud.
“My birthday piñata,” she says. We had a “nonviolent” piñata commissioned for Maud’s 5th birthday, its papier mache in the shape of a carousel horse. There were ribbons for the little tykes to pull to release the candy rather than bashing it with sticks. The horse had a breastplate with Maud’s name on it. We knew it was in storage someplace with its tail broken off, the tail floating someplace in storage too.
“Is there anything you would want out of here?” I ask Gil.
“One thing I desperately want to have right now,” he said, “but won’t be able to find, is the picture of my mother and my father in their 20’s. I want to display it at my mom’s memorial service. But it’s lost in there.” That picture proved to 14-year-old Gil that his parents were young once, his dad holding a pipe and his mom looking devilish.
“Maud, what do you think is in all those boxes?”
“Books, clothing, photos. Dead bodies.”
Sure, there have been evil deeds in storage lockers. We saw a thriller once in which a serial killer kept the clothing trophies of his victims in a locker. And in Silence of the Lambs Jodie Foster enters one to find a head in a jar.
But we find good things. Better than good. Softball gear, from Maud’s high school varsity team. Tents. We went to North-South Lake, remember that, our fragrant late night campfires? A wedding dress, still lovely in its ever-browning box. Copies of books we wrote, with passion. Gently used snorkeling gear. Let’s go, let’s go away somewhere warm and sandy sometime!
Gil finds the army jacket of Acton, his father.
Maud finds her carousel horse.
I lift down something precious, the lacework made by my Tennessee matriarchs. “Really?” says Gil. Our house is so small. For some reason I need this work by me, from the deep freeze to my warm house.
We have a conversation. “How much of this stuff would you remember if it all disappeared one day?” said Gil. “How much of it would you really miss.”
“All of it,” I say. “I’d remember it all.”