Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wake of the flood

Today brought many revelations, the biggest of which is that I used to live at 280 LaSalle Avenue.

I found that out when I was cleaning out my basement in the wake of the flood. Hey! Why wasn't I listening to the Grateful Dead's "Wake of the Flood" while I worked? That would have cheered me up. Isn't "Mississippi Half Step Toodaloo" on that album? But I digress.

About the LaSalle Avenue address: I knew I had lived on LaSalle, for a whole six months or something, which at one phase in my life was a long time for me. And I have been trying now and then to remember which house, because it was a very important time in my life, when I lived there. But I could never remember. My friend Gary lives on LaSalle and often on my way to his house I have looked at the other houses. But none looked familiar. Isn't that strange. I must have had a very good time, living in that house, if I can't remember which one it is, hee hee...

But today, in the midst of the incredible yuchy and often heartbreaking job of cleaning out my sodden basement, I found something with my LaSalle address. And there it was, 280.

Anyone out there in Blog-O-Land live at 280 LaSalle? Can I come visit sometime? I would like to see my old room. I don't remember the house but I remember that room.

Oh, look. Howard's home. Here I have just poured this huge glass of wine and sat down to soul-search. I must be brief. Everyone out in Blog-O-Land, Dear Readers, O Best Beloved, as Rudyard Kipling used to say...

Be careful with your stuff. Take it from me.

Don't put it on bottom shelves in the basement. Don't put it in the basement at all. When you throw your stuff into your house you often don't think of how much it means to you. You just put it anywhere and think: If anything happens to this, so what. I don't care.

You will care. And don't listen to people who tell you that you shouldn't. You don't have to be ashamed of keeping your old school books. Mozart kept his.

I lost stuff I cared about. Which torqued me off. There is no rhyme or reason to what is safe and what is ruined. Ruined: book of Greek translations that used to belong to your dad. High and dry: junk book you somehow wound up with about Ethel Kennedy. The misery! The injustice!

But there were positive things, too, that came out of today's experience.

For instance, my high school yearbooks. The one from junior year was soaked. But the others were OK, and I realized that they do mean a lot to me and I'm going to take care of them. Plus I believe I was able to salvage the soaked yearbook. And I still could read all the stuff my friends wrote. Which was hilarious! I had forgotten how much I loved those girls. I am going to find where they are living and send them cards or something. I want to tell them how they cheered me up when I was cleaning up my flooded basement.

Also: I found a datebook from when I was a kid and went with my brother George to San Francisco to hear the Grateful Dead. Why do I keep thinking about the Grateful Dead today? Slipped into its pages was a great picture of George and the hippie we wound up staying with when we ran out of money. Also a great picture of George and my sister Margie and me on the couch, all laughing. I never would have probably seen those pictures for the rest of my life had my basement not flooded. They weren't wet, either. They are fine.

What else? My Auntie Rose's photographs are all fine. That was a big relief. We had a wonderful bohemian aunt who is gone now and we miss her, and back in the 1940s she traveled all over the world and now I have her pictures. It wasn't really my fault they were in the cellar. George put them there without telling me. Because I have the big house I have been nominated the keeper of the family flotsam and jetsam. Hereafter I will take this responsibility more seriously.

Some things made me laugh. There was this terribly slimy and sodden book that looked very old, and I thought, with my heart sinking, oh no, what's this? When I could finally make out the lettering, it said: "Drinks You Can Make With Your Blender," something like that. From the 1970s, too, not the 1930s or anything. I laughed out loud with relief.

Because this book was sitting there in the puddle, something else was not.

You get wise, in the wake of the flood.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been there and I feel your pain. We've lost great stuff; there's wailing and gnashing of teeth when I think about it so I generally try not to.

Hang in there.