Thursday, May 7, 2015
LESSER DEGREES OF LOSS
The greatest loss that we will ever experience is the death of a loved one. I've experienced many such losses, and with each one a part of my own life was subtracted and subsequently will never be regained.
The losses I'm thinking about today, however, have nothing to do with death. They are monetary losses - or losses of personal possessions that have sentimental value. As an incurable sentimentalist, I can fiercely relate to this.
I've known numerous people who, for one unfortunate reason or another, have lost everything. Several of my relatives are included. My cousin Cookie (Elizabeth) in New Jersey lost all her possessions when her house burned down (happened long ago).
My cousin Nancy - who presently lives a few miles away from me here in Tennessee - was a former resident of Homestead, Florida. She lost everything in August, 1992, when Hurricane Andrew demolished the entire city.
I've never experienced such a great loss of possessions and wouldn't know how to cope with it. Starting from scratch isn't easy. Optimistic fools will say "Well, at least you have your life. You can always replace possessions."
I would answer "No way in hell can you replace treasured possessions. Everything that enhanced and confirmed my existence is gone."
While in the process of moving from Texas to Tennessee - I suddenly realized that I don't need 85% of the things I own. The idea of downsizing and becoming a minimalist is very tempting, yet it's an impossibility for a hardcore sentimentalist. I have an incredibly hard time letting go of my treasures. The simplest things often evoke the strongest memories: a photo, a letter, a book. Shells retrieved on the beach during a walk with someone special. A dried flower pressed between pages.
Mildly interesting, Jon, but where is this blog post taking us?
It's taking you on a sentimental journey. We'll get there soon enough - just don't try to make me climax prematurely. Telling a good story takes time. Just like having good sex takes time.
No need to get nasty, Jonathan. Is your mind always in the gutter?
I've mentioned in a previous blog post that - during my move from Texas to Tennessee - the movers somehow managed to lose (misplace? steal?) some of my most cherished possessions. It seems almost beyond belief that some of these items happen to be things I loved the most. So far I've gotten no explanation or restitution (more about this later).
Among many "missing" items are antique books, a valuable oil painting, some of my piano music, and a large three-drawer tool chest containing every tool I ever owned.
The most upsetting thing is that all of my mother's (and grandmother's) piano music is gone - - and so are all of my California diaries.
My maternal grandmother had an enormous amount of piano sheet music from the 1920's and 30's.
My mother played the piano since she was a child and had a large collection of music from the 1940's through the 1970's. Every single one of them is missing.
The most devastating thing to me is the loss of all my handwritten diaries and journals that I kept in California from when I was ten years old until I moved out of state when I was 35. A total of about thirty volumes.
In essence, these journals contained my entire California existence. They were a meticulous and extremely private account of every aspect of my life. There is no price that could compensate for the valuable wealth of information in them.
Besides all of my deepest and most personal thoughts, these journals documented everything that I ever did: my school and college years, my Hollywood years, every concert and performance that I ever gave, and every concert that I attended - - information about the rehearsals I had, the places I lived and visited, my friends, the famous people I've met. It revealed the sordid details of my love affairs (that alone is priceless).
It's bitterly ironic that I'm in the fledgling process of writing my memoir and desperately need my journals to use as a guideline and memory refresher. I now have nothing tangible to rely on but the recesses of my raw memory.
Is there a moral to this lengthy tale of woe?
If you're ever in the process of moving and have items that you cherish - don't entrust them to anyone and don't let them out of your sight.
I made the horrendous mistake of trusting the movers. I should have taken these things in the car with me when I drove to Tennessee, but I already had three cats in large cages. There wasn't enough room.
The final kick in the ass - -
Between moving and storage costs, I paid these bastards nearly $10,000.