My parents are gone, but I still have their things. A plate, a chair, a matchbook, a sweater, an old cell phone. Something of them lives on in this stuff. Send a picture of an object and tell me what it does to you and how it makes you feel about your mom and dad, dead or alive. Then go clean up your room. Thank you
My Mom had one handbag for the 60's. It was Mark Cross with a tapestry pattern. Its placement on the front hall table signaled her presence or absence in my childhood home on Buckingham Road in Grosse Point, Michigan. It seemed like a crucial limb for her. I could not imagine her as separate from her handbag. And so the bag was by default associated with what I later learned to be 'her condition' in those years, and why her regular absence had been almost as common as her presence. When I was older I found out that my Mom; like many women of her generation, had -for a time- been heavily medicated for depression, suicidal and under the care of a psychiatrist.
When we left that house on Buckingham Road and moved east to Rocaton Road in Darien, Connecticut, the bag was gone. In its place, was a new one, with a straw body and leather straps. This bag now referenced her more regular, regulated presence in our new environment. In my mind, the Mark Cross bag was like a skin that had been shed. It was of another time.
A few years ago, while visiting my parents in their fourth home in Colorado Springs, my youngest sister, visiting from Vancouver, came back from a short errand and placed the long-gone Mark Cross bag on the hallway table. My stomach did a backflip. She had saved it, I found out, from the deepest back of a bedroom closet. My sister, many years younger than me, was completely ignorant of the bag’s loaded history of despair. But she’s a smart woman who knows quality when she sees it. And so she has made the bag her own. --- Mandy Morrison