MOIRA NEAGLE'S BLOG: Objects, tools, ornaments can be imbued with such deep meaning far beyond their utilitarian or aesthetic value.
When my younger brother and I emptied our parents’ last home, we experienced emotional wrenches repeatedly as we tossed out such items.
The house had not been our childhood home as mum and dad retired to Balhannah in the Adelaide Hills on selling the farm at Joanna. However, there were still many things there from the farm and integral to our years as a family together.
I can recall standing at the Mount Barker Rubbish Transfer Station and ditching items into gargantuan skips. At one point, I grabbed a well-worn stick and paused mid toss. It was the stick which mum had used to move clothes around in the heated copper on “boiling” days.
This stick represented so much of what my mother was: hard working, persistent, resilient and worn. For a few seconds, poised there, I considered keeping it because of what it symbolised to me. But what would I do with it?
Would keeping it somehow allow these qualities to endure beyond the person? I guess common sense prevailed because I followed through with the toss, released the stick and it fell into the abyss.
However, even in these words that I write now, there is regret.
A cupboard which had lived in the tool/shearing shed on the farm made the journey to the garage in Balhannah. I seriously considered keeping it despite the grease-layered and pocked surface.
When dad installed it, there wasn’t enough floor space to accommodate it so he turned it upside down and rested it on a bench. Inverting it allowed him to access the drawer which was normally at the top of the cupboard.
In a similar manner to the washing stick, this cupboard embodied my dad. It contained odd bolts, nuts, files, spanners – the detritus of a handyman. Years later, I placed our clothes dryer on top of our upright freezer.
I inverted the dryer so that I could access the controls and immediately thought of my forever problem solving dad.
The Depression era kitchen canisters dropped at St Vinnies were sold before I had left the store, the extremely heavy homemade lawn roller left out on the road verge was thankfully taken by some strong individual and the plethora of dad’s ingenuities went the way of the washing stick.
The accumulated family treasures were scattered and gone.
Moira Neagle, “Apt Expression”: Professional Writing and Organisation, 0439 880 294, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.millipaedia.webs.com.