So it becomes very apparent to a person that you’re knee deep in what my dad likes to call ‘real-life shit,’ when Kanye West is ‘testifying’ in your grandmother’s kitchen as your taking apart her breakfast nook to be packaged up and fed-exed off to Texas. Taking pictures off the wall that have hung in the same spot for at least 20 years. Disturbing nails that penetrated plaster before I was conceived. All to be sent to the new nursing home.
Yeah, that was something.
That morning, I put on a pot of coffee, set the ibook on shuffle, and went to work. Newspaper around the pictures, bubble-wrap around the paper, cardboard around the bubble wrap. Pieces of the yellow pages wadded up and stuffed around pointy places that could impare or impale shipping. Like some weird lifestyle-surgeon, I spent a morning taking down the spot that I always pictured her sitting, reading the entire newspaper, every morning. You can lear more about my work just by clicking on here. All the while various songs, that you’d never hear in your grandmothers kitchen are randomly spiting out of two wee speakers.
I take down the drafting ruler that I always thought was a sword when I was little, to a Spoon song. Pavement plays as I tape newspaper around needlepoint samplers. American Analog Set actually seems apt as I bubble-wrap knick-knacks.
One does not seem to go with the other. The music with the tasks or the location. But that’s the point. There’s nothing appropriate about the music, because that’s just not possible. This is that real life thing again. There is no sound track. There is no perfect fade-in and out.
And lets be honest, for the grandkids, it’s easier. My Dad and my Uncles are the one who have it tough. It was hard, but I feel lucky for having gone to help close up her house. Living in Texas we were always a little out of range of this side of the family, way up on the east coast. So I got to learn incredible things about my grandparents, from their paper trail.
I read my grandfathers letters from the war. I thumbed through my grandmothers term papers from Rice, circa 1943 (she was one of the first women to go, I think). The original floor plans to their house, photos of Hurricane Carla (that they got to experience first hand). Disrupting interior designs formulated in the late 60’s is a small price to pay for being able to read those things and take the knowledge with you.
My Grandmother is the most well-read person I’ve ever met. There’s something in the realm of 6000 books in her house in Virginia. I think she’d approve of us learning so much about the way they lived through a little light reading. Even if the music isn’t quite appropriate.