Telling stories

I spent more than an hour the other day mostly listening to my aunt, who is in her mid 80s. She is an intelligent and alert woman who has never been married and of course has no children, unusual for her generation. She talks a lot about the stories connected with things and people.

On this occasion she was reminiscing about a variety of topics, from her mother suspiciously wondering why she had been out so late (to my ever virginal aunt) to having locked herself out of her locker at the pool. At one point of course I was rolling my eyes in boredom, but at the same time I was thinking about why ‘old people’ (and I am becoming one) talk so much about the past.

That is what my blog is– talking about the past. It is kind of like getting it down on virtual paper before it is forgotten. By me? Mostly by me. Most other people don’t really care unless it impacts them somehow.

Years ago I had a book that was a collection of excerpts from women diarists. I myself have kept a diary, these days called a journal, since for over 50 years. Have I ever read it? Rarely and only in the current volume to see where I had been recently. Do I want others to read it? Nope. I told my daughter several years ago that when I die, she can read them or throw them out. Also a few years ago an older man I was seeing told me to burn them. At the time I was horrified, but these days I am really wondering what to do with them, a whole box of them. Several years ago I was in a massive purge mode and took out the various extra papers that were in them journals and threw them into the recycling. I later regretted it, as those letters and odds and ends were probably more current and topical than the rambling journals. At any rate, they are gone.

Sometimes I think about opening that box and reading or possibly even transcribing the journals. They are actually quite egoistical, how I am feeling rather than what historical event is happening. Of course they are all about me! What more interesting person is there for me to write about? I write less these days because I am pulling together things for my blog, but over the many years I have been quite aware of how writing in my journal is a form of therapy. And of course in my younger days it looked cool to sit in a coffee shop to write– it made me look like a writer. And it gave me something to do as I was sitting alone. In fact I used to carry my journal with me all the time, which of course I gave up doing years ago. I suspect that they would be quite boring reading, for the most part, with the occasional gem of history or personal insight.

My first husband knew I kept a journal and when I left him he went through and tossed the ones from the two years we had been together. I understand but I was still angry. I think the significant thing is that he did not throw them all out.

There is something about having written it down, the words and ideas must be more permanent, even though no one else will ever see them. I have been aware of the mystery reader for many years. Even when I put something on my blog, the modern public version of a journal, I am quite aware that few people would be interested in reading it. At the same time, I see things on the internet, for example of HuffPost, that should not be there, with too great exposure and often terrible writing.

One of the things I am interested in doing is writing the stories about the things I still have. The stories are not necessarily very interesting, except to me, but perhaps then I can purge those things. Somewhere there is a box of heirloom silver pieces that my daughter was supposed to take and didn’t. Some of those things are more than 150 years old. They have stories, but the people who might tell them are long gone. I have my own memories associated with the pieces, as they were used by my mother and then by me, particularly at Christmas. But after me, who cares? Evidently not my kids. So what will I do with them? It is a bit of a dilemma. Perhaps I will sell them. I saw a piece just like one of mine in a shop in Istanbul and the seller wanted $250 for it. Maybe these pieces will support me in my old age, unless my kids decide they want them after all.

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I recently had a couple of rings re-sized. One was my mother’s engagement ring. I took in the wedding band so he could use that gold in fixing the ring. I once told my son he could have them to give to a prospective bride, but that doesn’t seem to be happening, so I decided to make the ring mine. The other ring is a bit of a mystery. I don’t remember when it came to me or why but it has been in one of my little boxes for a few years. It is a gold ring with a turquoise and two tiny pearls. Inside the band it is engraved with ‘July 29 1914’. that is not a significant date that I know of. I asked my aunt and she does not remember it belonging to her mother, and m y father thinks perhaps it was his mothers. The date is not her birthday and at that time she was 17, so it was not an engagement ring. Her father was a jeweller, so perhaps he made it for her mother. It was quite small, but now it fits me and I am enjoying wearing it.

I have some new friends here and I probably bore the pants off them with my Istanbul stories. However, I think it is good for people to learn about what are probably mysterious places to them. One thing too is to show that Muslims and their countries are not to be feared. Also the stories tell them a little about me.

In fact, stories tell a lot about a person– where she has been, the things she has kept in her life, why she even tells those particular stories. That is what my blog is about, after all. Welcome to my interesting life!

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