They Escaped From My Husband’s Closet

The spirits are restless. Like Pandora, I was curious about a miscellaneous stack of prints-photos-whatever stacked willy-nilly against the doorway of Jim’s study closet. I started picking at them. Before I could say shazaam, everything escaped. Out of their closet corner… now lounging all over my studio table and floor and all over the bedroom.

Things that have survived a hundred or two hundred years gather spirit. Many hands have treasured them and kept them safe. Some kind of exchange takes place. They take on a life of their own. And they love being (literally) out of the closet.

So now our quiet, orderly second floor is teeming with voices. Everything wants to be handled, appreciated, researched, organized. In creating piles, I’ve identified clusters of miniature Indian paintings, Winslow Homer prints, fashion prints, bird prints, 18th century vues d’optiques, stacks of Civil War scene engravings saved from 1860’s Harper’s Weeklies, large format photos, and posters related to a Spanish bullfighter popular in 1904 — these among many items that defy categorization (like a sheet of uncut $2 bills!?). Some people leave diaries — a trail of words; Jim leaves a trail of historical artifacts.

I don’t really feel like Pandora. All the escapees are friendly, friendly, friendly. On the one hand, I feel like a fairy-tale princess, playing with my treasures and/or my opinionated elves. On the other, I feel like a cowgirl, puzzling through how to wrangle all my little dogies back into the cattle pen for branding (i.e. inventory duties).

All in a day’s work.

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