Even as a child I liked old things. I especially liked things with history and a story. I jumped at any chance to ride with my grandma on her trip to the dump outside her small town in the midwest. It wasn’t really a “dump” but rather some large trash bins for the local residents to deposit their weekly trash. People would leave stuff in front of the dumpsters that were treasures not trash (at least in my eyes).
I would take any nice books home with me. I loved to look at the copyright dates inside to see their age. Those books were so special to me that I even took them to school for show-and-tell. What I wanted the most from these “treasures” was to know their history. Who took the time to leave those books out by the trash dump? Did they imagine that a little girl would take them home and still have them as she approaches middle age? I [still] love to look at the old Geography book and see the fancy pen that the student used to write his name so long ago. Did he like learning like I did or did he wish he were somewhere else as his teacher droned on and on about the Geography of South America?
I know I must have been young when I found these treasures because I was around 10 or 11 when I bought a clawfoot tub discovered in my grandma’s garage. I imagined that big cast iron tub would one day go in my house where I would have happy children and a sweet family.
The clawfoot tub followed me throughout my adventures into marriage (OK it didn’t follow me; I begged and borrowed to have some nice strong men move it around for me everywhere I needed it to go…hmmm that clawfoot tub could be a story in itself). But, I digress. I have a different story to share today … the story of the orange truck.
Somehow when I was a child I came into possession of a toy orange moving truck. I don’t even remember the circumstances in which I came by it, but I do know when I got it that I had imagined that my maternal grandfather had worked for this moving company at one point. Alas, he worked for a different company. This was apparently just a toy that my father had never really played with as a child (you see, I liked to enmesh my maternal and paternal families into one in my child brain…that’s how I made sense of things back then anyway). I tried to find out any stories about the truck but no one had any or thought it was interesting enough to remember. Thus, I have no idea of the orange truck’s history, story or if it was even ever loved. Maybe it was just never dealt with so it ended up in storage and I wound up with it since I so desperately wanted a piece of my family’s story.
But, here’s the deal. I don’t even like the truck. Yep, I said it, I don’t even like it at all. First of all, it’s really orange [!] and for some reason I have guilt every time I see it. Why have I kept it all these years? Well, I thought maybe my “future” son/grandson would like it…it could have been a girl, I’m not trying to be sexist, it’s just what I imagined. I don’t know how I imagined the conversation coming about but I imagined he would one day say, “Hey, mom/grandma that is a cool orange truck with obvious sentimental history, can I display it lovingly in my room?” Seriously, the imagined conversations in my head are really strange sometimes.
The guilt I feel every time I look at it must be because I don’t even like the big orange thing. I’m trying to keep a piece of family “history” that I don’t even like to look at. Well, this “William Morris Project” that I found through Jule’s website is changing me and that old thinking…I resolve to not have anything here in the house that I do not deem beautiful or useful. This orange truck is neither beautiful nor useful, thus it must “go” from its esteemed perch in my office.
Today, I actually asked my son if he wanted the truck and my daughter suggested that it would make a great “guy” truck. Both of them got excited about using the truck to play with. They play “guys” with their little Fisher Price boys and girls and other little toys that make it into the guy box. So, this truck is destined to be played with and enjoyed by my children. If one day they love remembering the memories they made with it, I will share as much of its history that I know. If they choose to get rid of it because they don’t love it, I just hope they let it go sooner than I could. Letting that guilt and orange truck go…that was easier than I thought it’d be.