You know how when you move, there’s always something that seems to go missing? We moved into this house in October 2002. G lived just a couple blocks down the street in a rental house she fixed up and I lived a few miles north in my wonderful little apartment. After we closed on the house (and everything in it), she managed to get most of the stuff into the garage so we would have a mostly empty house. I hired Two Men and a Truck to move my stuff because I was, even then, done with lifting heavy things. Especially since my apartment had a very steep, narrow staircase to navigate. Totally worth paying strong young men to schlep things up and down. Well, moving out, so mostly down.
I also had stuff at Dean’s (my late 2nd husband) house, boxes of books his brother wanted and things that G packed up for me and said, “Don’t just toss it, you need to give it time.” So, more stuff for the garage.
As moves go, it was pretty uneventful. We knew what we wanted where and they guys put it there with no worries. We checked the moving truck and both agreed that it was completely empty before we let the movers leave. We began the business of unpacking and sorting and getting moved in.
There was a box. Isn’t there always. I knew I had packed it, could clearly remember exactly what was in it–some photographs, of us, of a friend I went to visit in Portland, OR when I was still flirting with coming out, and another friend who was my last LDR (long-distance relationship) with a guy, taken at the last SF convention I attended in GA. And some jewelry. I’m not a big jewelry wearer. Most of it bothers me; having it against my skin makes me hot. But there were three particular pieces that I had specifically put in that box–a lovely amethyst pendant on a silver chain given to me by a good friend for my birthday, a string of cultured black pearls that Dean gave me one year for Christmas, and a delicate Celtic knot-type necklace that I just really liked. Nothing of any particular monetary value, but lots of sentimental worth.
Since we moved in, I’ve hunted that box. Dean’s brother came and got the books in the first couple of years we were in the house, I’ve long since looked through the other boxes of dishes, old photo equipment/slides/pictures (he was a photographer), etc. Nothing. Occasionally the subject would come up, “You know, I wonder were that box could have got to. Are you SURE that moving truck was empty?” But no box.
Then, the other night, I got thinking about a particular box in the top of our closet. It’s been up there, in the top left hand corner of the shelf she put in when she tore out the closet wall and opened the whole thing up. See, the closet in our bedroom was big, but it had this TINY, narrow little door and no light. I literally had to search for my clothes with a flashlight. So, the first time I went to a college reunion after we moved in (2004), G tore out the wall, framed it to put in bi-fold doors and put in one of those closet organizer things. I liked the openness of the closet so much that I told her I didn’t want the doors, but you can’t see the top shelf from the room–you have to be standing nearly in the closet. I knew that particular box had a lot of photo negatives in it (pre-digital) such as all the negatives from my trip to the UK with my mother in 2000. I knew she had put a big bunch of them in there, taped up the box and set it on the shelf. But. I had not actually looked in that box since then.
So, I got a little step stool, hauled down the box, ripped off the tape that said “Negatives” and lo and behold, there under the negatives WAS ALL MY STUFF! The photos, the jewelry and even some photos of GS1 when he was a tiny baby still living in my house! I couldn’t believe it. What memories. The jewelry needs a good, professional cleaning, but it’s really not in bad shape for having sat in a closet for nearly a decade! And best of all, I found this photo–the first actual picture of us taken together. Now THAT’S a Christmas present! Oh, it was taken at her little house, at a cookout with a bunch of friends, before we even started “seeing” each other, so around June 2002. The rest is HERstory…