This all came about because my OH couldn’t find the black luggage label. The label is one of two we purchased in a little shop in Jasper, three years ago; it is made of black leather, with a cut out of the first letter of our surname in a contrasting pink leather – sounds a bit OTT, but trust me, it looks very smart when attached to one end of a piece of luggage. And different. I have never seen any more like them anywhere. I found the other one, the pink one with the black letter, but there was no way he was going to take that one with him on his trip!
I thought perhaps it had got inside one of the other bags and said as much, which was a mistake and resulted in an attic search on Saturday. Our attic, like most I guess, is the respository for things that don’t quite fit anywhere else, or you can’t quite bring yourself to throw out. Like luggage which takes up far too much room to be stored anywhere else; an old artificial Christmas tree, which gets a revamp every year and placed in the porch and all the decorations that adorn the “real” tree when it comes, various tins, boxes, bags, records, my old hockey stick, a pair of crutches (??) the list goes on.
So, rather begrudgingly, I took myself off to the attic, armed with a couple of bags for sorting the rubbish and my phone in case there was an emergency and I was needed (please) and the thought I would catch up with my twitter friends if I got bored! That worked out well, until I realised I was spending a little too much time tweeting and not enough time sorting!
I checked the luggage and found the black tag, yes! That is when I should have stopped and gone downstairs triumphantly with the find, but I didn’t because underneath the oldest of the bags, was a pile of photographs. And so I started going through them. Big mistake, huge.
You remember those pre-digital days, when we took snaps on rolls of film we bought at the chemist or supermarket, wound carefully onto the spool in the camera, away from bright light in case we damaged it? Then when we had finished the roll, it rewound, if you had the latest camera; or you had to rewind by hand, turning for ever until the film was wound back into its’ case. Then you took it out and handed it in to be developed. You waited with bated breath, hoping that the photograph you had taken of your grandmother’s 80th birthday party, with all those relatives you had never met before, turn out OK as they all want a copy as a keepsake. Well, there were envelopes full of photos like that!
Photos of my children on their first bikes, at the beach, on a slide, running in the egg and spoon race; a birthday party with a cake in the shape of a fire engine all red icing with white ladders on the top; school outings and new uniform days, the first day of “big school” all wide-eyed and anxious; scrubbed within an inch of their lives, ready for whatever was coming their way.
There were photos taken at friends weddings – why did I ever think I would look good in an outift like that? It is the clothes that date the photographs more so than the people, who somehow manage to stay more or less looking like they always have. Then the babies started to come along and there are piles of photos of them. Then, from somewhere at the bottom of the pile I found photos of my parents. They have both gone now, but looking at them, laughing into the camera lens, on holiday in Ibiza, the Yorkshire Dales or the Scottish highlands brought tears to my eyes and I remember them more clearly seeing the photographs, than I ever do just thinking about them.
I spent a long time in the attic. My knees were sore and I only had a small pile of rubbish to show for my morning’s work, but there were lots of happy memories