I enjoy writing about the places I’ve lived. Every location is a challenge and a pleasure. Some memories are evasive: the shape of a room, the location of a door, the color of the walls. Others, though, seem so firmly attached to a place, they spring to mind as soon as I start describing a floor plan, and the feelings of comfort, fear, resentment or joy are as fresh as this day, though the walls that caused the remembrance are decades in the past.
I still have a long list of places I’ve called home, before I finally arrived at this place. A daunting number. I wonder how I found the energy to move, again and again: packing and unpacking; changing addresses with the post office and the state; finding schools and stores; getting to know the neighbors. How did I muster the enthusiasm to arrange my belongings time after time in a different space? I don’t know. I don’t have that kind of stamina today!
Today, I’m overwhelmed by the chore of just writing about the next place! I started out with good intentions. Up by seven o’clock, I had the title typed before I poured my first cup of coffee. As I have a long list of writing and editing to get done today, on my day off, I wanted to get this one thing done early, so I wouldn’t have the distraction of it pulling me away from other tasks.
The search for a photo slowed me down. I have two albums, one small hinged cedar box, and two metal tool boxes all filled with photographs. They are all in a stack on the floor beside my desk, and have been since I started this endeavor of writing about addresses. They used to be in order, divided by index cards or placed in envelopes, just waiting for the time when I’d finally arrange them all in albums. Over the years, I’ve gone through them – always under pressure of some deadline or another – to find photos for a baby book, cook book or funeral board, or to illustrate a point or prove a memory. My children have gone through them, and so have my grandchildren.
One album is mostly photos I took when I was sixteen and seventeen, with my Kodak Instamatic camera. All of the others are a jumble. There is my youngest daughter when she was two years old, right next to a cluster of snapshots of my oldest daughter’s first apartment, on top of a few pictures of a trip I took to northern California, a Christmas at Mom and Dad’s when all of our kids were so small, my newborn granddaughter, Jen dressed for the prom, Kate with her first born son when he was just a toddler, and on and on. I kind of sort them as I go, but then everything has to go back in the box. When it comes time to find a specific photo, or a photo of a certain location, I have to go through everything.
Now, having gone though a pot of coffee while wading through memories, I have a pathetically small stack of photographs taken at Charbridge Arbor, my next address. It is 10:45. I have a mound of work I haven’t even begun. Charbridge will have to wait. No address today.