I’ve always had shelves. I’ve always had books. Always had massive wood display cases in every city and state I’ve lived.
Old. Hard. Solid. Tall. Wide. Bookshelves.
I was in my early twenties the first time I bought a pair. They caught my eye in the very back basement while I was just browsing for a tea cup.
Within a week, they made the journey from an old antique store in Xenia to Cincinnati. They were handmade and gorgeous. They fit an entire wall wherever they went. And they went everywhere.
“We could just turn them into firewood instead of navigating three floors of steps,” they said.
How dare the suggestion. It never happened. No matter how many times the city or the state changed.
Those old shelves traveled with me for over fifteen years. Sometimes sitting in storage until I could unpack their belongings… the torn tattered old century writings and collectibles that found their way to me and their place on the wood grain shelves… perfectly positioned for me to admire and perceive.
Those black wood beauties were finally sold during a purge -one of many. And they were split up eventually. Along with their memories.
What I was able to salvage, what I was able to keep. What I could display and see. What I knew about what I was collecting.
Every tattered and torn old story.
I suppose I didn’t always have shelves.
There were a few years I had nothing.
And then I had everything.
These latest old brilliant beauties are still relatively new to me. Discovered five years ago against a wall as we made a little Saturday trip north, the grandparents, my love, and he — the tiny little toddler who used to just come along for the ride. Not realizing the ride was more about him, than anything.
These shelves are solid wood. They match the grain of my kitchen table perfectly. They are different than the former… in ways I can’t communicate effectively.
For two years, these old wood shelves became a storage facility themselves. They just held old boxes waiting the nest. They became the place holder for what would be next.
And now… they stand tall and on the ready to showcase all those remaining memories. All the gatherings. All the forty, fifty, hundreds of years things.
A colored pencil.
Foam alphabet letters.
Toss it there toys and paper and puzzles in baskets.
“Look mommy… I made a Lego scene in the living room on the shelves!! That’s me grown up experimenting in a lab!”
I have always had shelves. I have always had books. And no matter how I try and strive and remember and might want to recreate or reminisce… I must admit…they never held collectibles as well as when they showcase this.
Elizabeth Grattan is a broadcast talent and writer who has covered current events, human interest and social justice for over twenty-five years. Her loves are laughter through tears, old ball caps, reasonably priced blended reds and her dream come true little man. Find & friend Elizabeth on FB or follow along on Twitter.