When I packed up our ‘spare’ possessions in January 2012 and put them into storage, pre-empting a quick house sale and a speedy move to Wales, I tried to have a clear out.
As the days and weeks tick by towards the much awaited new thatched roof, I attempt to live and work in a couple of rooms, with my possessions in boxes, scattered between three barns and upstairs, but the need to sort boxes and attempt some organisation has become critical.
But what to throw away or recycle? I came across a bag of shimmy belts. As I no longer dance Egyptian bellydance, my need for these belts is zero and yet, as I tip the bag onto the bed, the coins jingling and tinkling, memories come flooding back to me. There’s my first, heavy, gorgeous, purple and silver belt and memories of my first class, the joy of shimmying my hips and twirling my veil and the breathless exhileration of dancing. My teaching belt, lightweight and less noisy, emerges from the bag and I remember the hundreds of women and girls who attended my workshops, who I opened the door of belly dance for and invited them to follow a dancing path. Then there’s a stunning black and gold belt, a birthday gift from Mike’s Mum and I know why I still have these belts. When I first started Phoenix Bellydance, she came with a friend to my first taster workshop and they enjoyed it so much, they signed up for the beginners course…and never left.
…And that’s why we and the children have Memory Boxes. Into these boxes go cards, notes, pictures and possessions, ready to evoke memories from the past. Our Christmas Box is also a Memory Box as, each year, when the children came back from school with a cotton wool covered snowman, glitter stars and pictures, they went onto the tree and then into the box. The following year as the box was reopened, old memories emerged and were reshared before the tree was adorned with family memories once more.
I’m not a hoarder…I’m a treasurer of memories.