The Roanoker - May/June 2020 - 111

costume all three kids wore for Halloween. There's no
room in my kids' lives for that. But how can I carry all
those memories to the curb?
Instead, their childhood flotsam is tucked into already
full closets, stacked high in our rodent-ridden garage,
pushed into dark corners in the basement. Anywhere
there is an opening, I shove a box into it.
Trust me, there is no magic in that.
Partly, I am in this pickle because I once believed we
all simply had too much stuff. I held firm that everyone
should acquire less and give away what we didn't need
anymore. Memories should be saved in books and
curated into well-labeled boxes. Photos should be edited,
sorted and digitally stored.
Which I still kind of believe. It's just that, having
walked with my kids through all these years and so
many stages, I can now appreciate the allure of holding
an object in my hands in a way I couldn't fathom before.
As a girl, I loved discovering the artifacts of my
family because it made me feel close to my people even
when I didn't know their stories.
As a mom, I hold onto things to remember the stories
that were mine but no longer are.
Picking up that soft pink blanket unleashes a wash of

memories: how uncertain I felt as I swaddled my infant,
how desperate I was to comfort my sick baby, how my
heart melted as I watched my toddler pretend to care
for her own baby.
If I were to let the blanket go, I'm afraid the
memories would disappear with it.
My children are too old now to revel in the game of
attic discovery I once cherished. But maybe in the notso-distant future, I'll build my attic and I'll gather all
of our family treasures in one place. And someday my
grandchildren can venture into the dusty light and poke
through a plastic tote and wonder: Did people used to
wear this? Who made that crazy drawing? What kind
of Matchbox car is this?
Maybe they'll have the patience to hear me tell too
long a tale about their father or their aunt or their greatgrandmother. Maybe they'll even remember it and when
they hold the toy or book or blanket, they'll know why
I chose to save it.
That would be the best of all worlds. We keep the
things to share the stories to make the history live on.
Perhaps that's the primal urge that's got me pining for
a set of fold-down stairs, an unfinished floor, a bare bulb.
Maybe that is the power of an attic. I

S uSan B ailey

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MAY/JUNE 2020

111


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The Roanoker - May/June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - May/June 2020

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The Roanoker - May/June 2020 - Cover3
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