Perfect Storm in a Starbucks Cup

In Family Life on January 27, 2011 at 10:27 am

I pulled off the road today because of an accident ahead and went to Starbucks to wait it out. $6.00 later, I was sitting at the window sipping and reading The New York Times. Since I didn’t have my reading glasses, I started with the “Home” section which had the biggest pictures. I read an article by Michael Tortorello that discussed the conundrum we have, as parents/art critics, when our children present us with their masterpieces in crayon day after day. Keep some and throw the rest away at midnight has always been my philosophy. The article turned poignant at the same time as some other thoughts occurred to me and the caffeine hit my brain. A perfect storm. Ms. Palmer, interviewed for the article, described coming home one day to all her school art work waiting on the porch for her. Her mother delivered it after years of collecting. She realized in that moment that her mother was no longer the “keeper of my art”.  I am still the keeper of my children’s art for a few more years.  Some of it is here:

While I read the article, I overheard the cause of the accident that drew me into Starbucks. Life and death so close. The thoughts of my own treasure sorting after my parents both died came flooding in.  I cleaned up their whole house.  I threw away countless, once special, items and kept countless more. This is what I kept:

  • Certificates from universities
  • Honors from professional organizations
  • Letters and photographs
  • Unpublished books
  • Grandma’s Russian recipes
  • Grandma’s love letters from Grandpa
  • My dad’s “pinup” picture of my mom when she dyed her hair blond.

Now I am the age my mom was when that pinup picture was taken.  This year I will venture into our storage room and label what is important for our kids to keep when I die.  With no reading glasses to wipe the steam from, I wiped my tear filled eyes and quickly made an exit from the pseudo community of Starbucks on a rainy day.

Where is your childhood art?


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