Friday, 12 March 2010


In London to sort through more of my father's things, mostly from his small study where he kept his papers. The letters and papers are, of course, a practical business. What is not entirely practical are items like: stationery (rubber bands, paper clips, biros, pencils, sticky tape, labels, pencil sharpeners, rubbers, bulldog clips, post-it notes, notepads, paper-knives); photographs (official, photo booth, holiday snap, family memorabilia, unknown people, albums with photos in, albums without photos); printed material (holiday brochures, souvenir issues, old Hungarian boy-scout magazines),snippets regarding my own life (reviews, articles, mentions, invitations, programmes, not to mention various books all inscribed, the cards we sent with painting by C and verse by me); ID cards of one sort or another; old glasses and old glasses cases, dark glasses, travelling clocks, unused gifts, gifts long out of date (a 1960s slide projector with a screen in portable tripod. And scraps of paper with notes on, with lists of names or dates or items to buy or think about.

And stamps and stamps and stamps and stamps. And more stamps. Some very beautiful stamps. My brother A takes the stamps.

And a whole wardrobe, a rather more dapper wardrobe than I ever really imagined. Sharp dresser - in his way.

And the silence of it.

And all this goes into boxes and bin-liners and miscellaneous plastic bags. Though not the silence.

And there is a sense of achievement having done this and piled it into the car and brought it home and thinking - now where to put all this, where on earth to put it (and thinking: it would be far far worse for me should I go, so I should tidy up, not just my desk but my life, but meanwhile life is there to be lived and not tidied, and I go to bed with that.)


Linda Gryczan said...

Yes, the silence.

And the scent on his clothes, and the tools he used, and we think of him whenever we sharpen his pencil, use a stamp or write on his note paper.

And the grief we feel when we are over the shock of his death and have integrated his belongings with our own.

Best wishes as you move through your grief.

Linda Gryczan
Helena, Montana USA

George S said...

Thank you, Linda.