Facebook can be a time-dump but it is powerful. I received a message a couple of months back from a woman named Jonesey in Los Angeles. She asked me to call her about some stuff of mine that she had found. Jonesy had been hired to remove an enormous collection of belongings hoarded in a house near Crescent Heights Boulevard. Then she told me the house had belonged to my ex wife. Hmmm. I was apprehensively intrigued. I’d split up with her almost 30 years ago, just before my move from the so-called City of Angels to the soon-to-be-touted “Live Music Capital of the World.” The house had fallen into disrepair, was recently sold and was about to undergo renovation. Tasked with sorting through everything, Jonesy came across a box with my name on it and she wanted to know if she could send it my way. Having no memory of said box of stuff, I readily agreed and offered to pay the postage. She declined saying “I’m getting paid quite a bit and consider this part of the job. I like to pay it forward.”
Weeks flew by. I forgot about it. A parcel arrived via UPS. “Oh yeah.”
Kate & I sat together and I opened it. We decided that I’d toss anything way too personal onto a “confidential” pile. The plan was to make categorized stacks to sort through later. Upon opening the box I was hit with a kind of old grandma house odor, the stale air molecules released from what was really a time capsule. I worriedly wondered what kind of re-discovery was in store.
Disappointment. The first things I sifted through turned out to be utility bills, canceled checks, and a matchbook with obligatory phone number scrawled on it from Club Lingerie circa 1981. The stand out item was a hand written receipt from my first car purchase, a 1974 Ford Mustang from that period when Mustangs were more like souped-up Ford Pinto’s. I also found the repair bills to keep it running; serial replacements of a problematic fuel pump that made me smile now that all this time had gone by. The trash pile was getting taller while the other stacks were barely stacks at all. I skimmed the first few lines of a love letter and immediately chunked it. Better where it was, stored in the way back “lessons learned” folder of my brain.
A yellowed envelope full of photos appeared. The mother-load of early eighties rock & roll pictures of me playing The Starwood, The Troubadour, The Lighthouse and The Roxy. What is it with Los Angeles and all of the “The” clubs? And of course there had to be the “oh I remember her” pictures with old girlfriends. Kate was thrilled. Old Harvey Family photos were stashed between some black & white 8x10s taken at Madam Wong’s East. Some were of my Mom in the 30’s and others of Dad in his Navy whites. And then there was this photo of Mom & Dad standing on a dock beside a tall, regal sailing ship. This one grabbed my attention; I had no recollection of it and no idea where it was taken. They looked so happy and in love. I’m guessing it was taken by the time David, Rebecca and I had grown up, well, maybe me not so much, but that’s another story. Out of the box I had one precious photo accompanied by the realization that Kate and I are in a similar phase of our lives now and very much in love. I was feeling very thankful.
The next day I gave the picture to Mom. I anticipated she might get teary-eyed since Dad passed away back in 2006. As the tears welled-up she said they were tears of joy. Her expression revealed myriad layers of emotion. It felt good to give Mom that picture, and it was liberating to deep six almost everything else from that box.
So Jonesey, thank you from the bottom of my heart.