Monte and My Marvelous Compendium of Enduring Memories

It is odd that I begin with Monte the Camel. He is just a planter, the type that was popular many years ago in the late 1950s and 60s. There is no hole for water drainage. Yet my mom, and later I, tried time and time again to grow plants in him. They always died because of either too much water or not enough.

The remarkable thing about Monte is the memories he sparks of my mom. She had a great sense of humor, something most people just passed by until my husband, Leroy, discovered it and encouraged many years later.

I can’t remember why my mom named this planter Monte. But I know she had a story that would have been a bit risqué and only she would keep the secret. The rest of us would go on asking ourselves why would Annette name a planter? But I think she named many things.
The one name of an object I do remember is Doobee Faret. It was a bee of some kind. It’s not important that I remember the object itself. What is important is that I do remember her asking me if I wanted to know what the name meant. She had a mischievous grin on her face. I knew it would be good.
My grandfather was a bee hobbyist. My mom or dad drove him miles every spring through early fall almost everyday of the week from Globeville to a farm in Arvada. Here a generous farmer, Mr. Granjeans, (No, not Greenjeans of Captian Kangeroo fame.) had given him a spot on his farm for my gandfather’s twenty or so beehives. My mom or dad made the trip twice a day from Denver to Arvada to drop him off early in the morning before my dad opened his T.V. repair shop and pick him up in the evening after the shop closed.
They also made the yearly trip to Union Station to pick up Grandpa’s queen bee and her court for the season. I remember riding in the back seat of the ’55 Chevy Nomad, hoping and praying that the bees wouldn’t get out of their box. The buzzing was so loud I thought they would certainly sting us to death if they did.
So bees and beekeeping were a part of our life and I wanted to know about Doobee Faret. This was long before the Doobie Brothers ever thought about forming a band.  She made me promise not to tell anyone, especially my dad. I took the oath.
Taking me aside and whispering ever so softly, mom explained to me that with all the bee frenzy in our house, she always wondered if bees farted. There was a long pause with her smiling broadly. I just stared at her. She then repeated, “Do bees fart?” Finally, with disappointment spreading across her face, she stated “Doo…bees…fart?” “Doobee Faret?” She had to conceal the “fart” inside the “Faret” so she could say it in company. I laughed. She giggled. And we promised never to say a word.
So in tribute to my mom’s sense of humor, Monte serves as the mascot and the beginning of my book of memories.
The idea for the book stems from the many “Clean Out Your Lives” shows I have been watching on cable. I really yearn for more open space, everywhere.  I understand that it is the memory that the object holds, and not the object itself.  But it is hard to let go of things that have been touched and loved by loved ones.
Keep the mantra going: It is the memory that the object holds, and not the object itself.
I also like the revelation that these memories sitting on a shelf hidden by other memories or packed away in boxes not to be looked at for years and years, does not honor the objects or their memory.
Keep the mantra going: It is the memory that the object holds, and not the object itself.
Keeping the objects just results in clutter and more work in their upkeep. 
Keep the mantra going: It is the memory that the object holds, and not the object itself.
We recently moved from 850 square feet into 2700. Granted, some of the stuff in our house is my father’s. Many things are those my mom packed away herself and hadn’t opened since we moved from Globeville to Wheat Ridge in l974. And even more of these boxes held wedding presents from 1950 that she never used.
Keep the mantra going: It is the memory that the object holds, and not the object itself.
So the 2700 square foot house is now full. I need to let go of stuff. And I begin here. Monte and My Marvelous Compendium of Enduring Memories.
Keep the mantra going: It is the memory that the object holds, and not the object itself.
I will take photos and write a quick, or not so quick, note about it and put it in a lovely little journal I purchased for this reason. Then the items will be taken to Good Will.
Of course, I will keep a few objects that are definitive. I believe this process will help me find them. For example, of the ten or so objects I have chosen to go first in the process, it surprises me that Monte the Camel planter is the one I had the most second thoughts about getting rid of. More than my baptism hat, or first pair of red sneakers, or the lone surviving horse from Stock show souvenirs.
This process must not be burdensome, so that I keep up. I hope it will teach me that one step at a time, or object, will make a big difference in the end. It will also keep me writing!
Note to myself:  It is the memory that the object holds, and not the object itself.


It feels right and I am smiling.

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