I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and of the degree of the arcades' curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past...A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira's past. -Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

At home archaeology

One of the interesting things about visiting my parent's house is that you never know what you will find...if I ever wonder why I studied archaeology I just have to start excavating the bookshelves and counters of my childhood home. Don't get me wrong, the house is kept clean--just everything else is kept too (sorry Mom if you are reading this, but you know it is true)!

This time I found a letter my sister wrote home from summer camp in the early 70's. And on top of bookshelves in the den was an envelope, in my handwriting, filled with all the letters I wrote to my parents when I lived in England in the early 90's. Actually, I will probably never have such keepsakes--my coworker Deb, whose daughter is living in Japan this year, gets frequent emails but I don't think anything handwritten, so who knows how we will be communicating by the time Julian is old enough for such adventures.

Every time I visit I also debate what to bring back with me. I pull a pile of books off the shelf and usually put most of them back, or find an old toy or trinket, which I eventually decide is best left in Fort Worth, for another stroll down memory lane on a future visit.

1 comment:

Charu said...

"One of the interesting things about visiting my parent's house is that you never know what you will find". Alex, in my case, it is not knowing whether I will find things I am looking for - viz. my old books and stuff. My mom has taken my advice to declutter the house (selectively) and threatens to throw out my stuff. and often does too!