When the elderly brothers across the street passed away (hours apart), their niece took responsibility for clearing their possessions and selling the house...After securing important documents and whatever else she may have wanted to keep, she threw open the doors with an invitation for all to take whatever they wanted for free. A few hours later the furniture was gone, along with assorted tools, food items, and other miscellany.
Most of what was left would be tossed into the big blue refuse bin out front. However, on the walls were many family pictures....2 handsome young men in their military uniforms...their older sister who had passed years before....their mother....and many other memories that were dear to the recently departed.
The niece was near tears as she looked at the photos. After having closed down a few other houses of relatives in recent years, her basement and attic were full of family memories. "My kids don't want this stuff...I don't know what to do". Eventually, she packed up the pictures and took them home, hoping that her own children would be as gentle when their time came to sort through the memories.
Down the street, a recent widower had moved into a senior apartment. The big double was too much, and maybe the memories made him feel even more lonely. No kids, so a company was called in to hold a sale and otherwise disperse of the accumulation of a long marriage As they were pricing items they came across the wedding album and quickly called to see if the gentleman had overlooked it. No...no room even for what he took with, no room for more. Sad.
An older gentleman with a young man's heart used to come into work every year, maybe twice if he was downtown. He always wanted a manila envelope to keep papers in. After being a jerk about it once, I came to realize that he was also a bit young in mind also...a slight mental disability, I guess...I gathered up my (occasionally missing) compassion, and always had an envelope or two ready for him when I saw him come in. He always rewarded with with a huge smile :D
The last time I saw him, there was time for more conversation, and he rewarded me even more by sharing memories of Vaudeville, of Allen Street, his uncle the magician, and how he used to help backstage when he was young. He had the programs from back then, photos...I haven't seen him since, and it's been a few years, after being a regular for over twenty. I wonder what happened to him...if he's living in a senior apartment somewhere, if he passed on....I also wonder what happened to his memories, his prized possessions, stored so carefully in his envelopes...