Monday, November 07, 2011

A little surprise archeology

Doing a little room re-organization around here  - which is to say, in my quest to keep from being buried underneath piles of stuff, I asked for help & people moved my room around.  It actually looks much larger and more open (the wheelchair and going around large pieces of furniture are not good combinations.  Ask any piece of furniture I've ever gone around), and, while it's not perfect, it's a lot closer than it was before.  Of course, move one thing, find another 19 projects that have to be completed, and since we (they) moved every stick of furniture in the room around, you can multiply that by about 300 to get the picture of how much work was unearthed.

In the course of clearing out today's boxes, I found the microrecorder I used way back when I was in college.  Originally, I bought it to take notes, but I quickly realized that I wound up transcribing all my notes anyways, because I needed to read them to understand them better, and so I stopped using the recorder in class.  Instead, it became a way of recording the fights the PUS and Nana were getting into, the aftermath discussions we were holding downstairs in my room, and basically a lot of Nana saying that she wasn't going to put up with this shit anymore, and they were going to be out on their asses.  And by 'a lot', I mean at least 7 years worth of it - just snippets of conversations about the latest brouhaha and her insistence that my former uncle and his family would soon be out of her will, her house and her life. 

Listening to all of that again was like flicking a stress switch in my brain - I remember, so exactly remember, the feeling of impotence, sitting there, listening to her, knowing that nothing was ever going to change.  Until it did.  Until she wasn't there anymore to listen to, and I was left with all these tapes where I could hear her voice, but not her spirit - listen to little pieces of her soul get carved away all over again.  I fast forwarded my way through a few of them, just so I could label them and not come across them accidentally again. ( I know I should toss them.  I even started to.  I think one day I will, but it wasn't today.  Because it's still her voice.) 

I wouldn't have even bothered with the fast forwarding, except I knew that I taped other things during the course of those years - a brainstorming session for a story I was writing here, a research paper's theories there - and I found those too. (And Oh God: does anybody like the sound of their voice, because I absolutely HATE mine: I sound like a snotty little kid all the time, and I don't know how anyone ever talks to me!)

 But  then I came across something I had forgotten - the thing that made my day, and made all the trips down twisted paths of memory lane worth it: A recording of No Longer Youngest Nephew, when he was just a little baby, probably 15 months old - practicing singing "Happy Birthday" for his mama.   His baby voice is both foreign and familiar - It's not him anymore, but wow do I remember when he sounded like that.  I can picture his little chunky self sitting in his high chair, talking about "cake" and "mama" and trying to sing along with us while we prompted him.  It's startling, really, how clear memories can be - especially ones that were tucked away somewhere, waiting for someone, or something, to sift through and unearth them.

(This would be a great time for me to have a wav. file or whatever of the recording, but the only way I could think of getting it on here was running my webcam, and then setting it up that way.  But a) then you would hear my annoying voice and b) I didn't get a chance to even think about doing that, so  you're going to have to take my word that he's adorable.  Then and now.)  

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