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Monday, December 17, 2012

Memory Storage

There's this Hawaiian supersitition that you can store memories into shells and other small objects, and that by looking into them you can see the memories that you stored there.  I really like this notion, as magical as it may seem, and I believe in it in some ways.
Every year at Christmas, we dig out the decorations from the depths of the garage and decorate the house.  And my favorite part is decorating the staircase.  Ever since I was 6 years old, decorating the staircase with garland and beads has been my responsibility.  Every year that i do this task, i remember all the houses i've lived in since i was 6.  The grey brick house in San Antonio, the two townhouses in Japan, and the red brick one in Maryland where my parents have been for the last ten years.  I remember all the Christmas's and all the times i had to untangle the beads and loop them around the bannister.  I love that job.
My second favorite part is decorating the tree.  My parents have accrued so many ornaments over the years that usually we can't fit them all on the tree!  But so many of them are so special.  There are the old hand-made ones that my mom made just after my parents got married.  There are the little teddy bears my mom always made for us when we were little.  There are the ones we got from when we lived in Hawaii.  There are all the glittery-bean-covered ones that me and my brothers made when we were in grade school (can public schools even make "christmas ornaments" anymore?  Is that too politically filled?) There are the ones made from popsicle sticks, or yarn, or clothes hangers, or paper.  There are the ones we got when we lived in Japan, ones we were given that are from Russia, ones that we got when we spent Christmas in Australia, and official White House ornaments that my dad got working at Bethesda Naval Base.  They are a treasure trove of memories, all packaged up and stored nicely in little bangles all hung on the Christmas tree.
You can take pictures and put them in scrap books or on Facebook, but sometimes the best memory storage is the kind that you only open once a year and put up for all to see.