Today, Gentle Reader, prompted by some of the ongoing familial bullshit, I wish to write about basements.
You see, Gentle Reader, no one in my family ever throws anything out. This is why, when I was a child, my grandparent’s basement was the most mysterious, exciting place for me – it was a treasure trove, an Aladdin’s cave, a wonderful jumble of worth and dust.
There were heavily carved mahogany bookcases, filled with endless adventures, including an eight-inch unabridged Webster’s from 1922 – and, resting in racks, to your right, is the wine that my Dad and Grandfather laid down when my Dad was in his teens – the wall crowded with pictures? Some of those are from when my Great-Grandmother left Lilac House in England and set sail for Australia. There were things that had been packed in boxes, and untouched for generations, getting moved from house to house – when my Grandfather remarried, and his new wife started sorting through the family storehouse, it transpired that there was bric-a-brac wrapped in broadsheets from the American Civil War.
When my own Father’s grandparent’s died, some of the relations were going through and tossing out treasures, similarly, indiscriminately – and he salvaged a baleen that my great-great-grandfather had brought home, from one of his whaling trips. It would have been thrown away, if he hadn’t known to save it, at the age of nine.
All I wish, at this point, is an opportunity to walk through that basement one more time.