The Memory Museum – Sometimes we attach value to objects based on when acquired

The Memory Museum – Sometimes we attach value to objects based on when acquired
Click Here to hear this post narrated by me over a background of my original music.

My mother is a collector. At 92 her memory is still good, but occasionally a fact or two might slip away.

But she has a technique to counter that. I call it “tagging.”

She “tags” an object with a memory from an earlier time. Like the set of dishes my father gave her on their first anniversary, the ceramic liquor bottle they bought on a trip to Italy, or the lunch kit I used when I was in 6th grade. It’s her algorithm: A time; a place; an object.

You can imagine that at 92, there are lots of memories – and lots of objects tagged to them.

When you think about it, it’s how a museum works. Objects are on display from a person, time or place so the public doesn’t forget…

It works well as long as there is room.  But what happens when a museum or a person has to downsize. Go from “3x” or “2x” space to “1x” space.

You can auction off an item, but what of the memory tagged to it?

You can give away an object, but does the attached memory fit with its new owner?

My wife and I just completed moving my mother from her condominium to an independent living facility. Half the items wouldn’t fit and had to be sold, or given away. One auctioneer told us how the value of the memory often was far greater than the value of the object.

The things mom valued most made the trip with her. And quite a few of the next level down did as well. But rooms full of memories don’t like being stirred up. It’s confusing. It jumbles the story; mixes happy and sad; past and present; fact and fiction.

Eventually the memories settle, and like stirred sand, allow the water to clear again.

Everyone’s life is a memory museum. What’s in yours?

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