The Memory Hoarder

“We are not defined or limited by the things which we own but we do cherish certain belongings and the pleasure they bring to our lives.”  – Julia Cameron

Nana never liked to part ways with her things. So when a purge of Tremont began, old remnants and rusty casualties naturally became meaningful to me. Little interest was shown in the random things my heart had grown attached to. I think the purge was cathartic for my Mum who had for years wanted to let go of many of the things that lay around Tremont while Nana still had a say.

My salvages? A rusting Salter scale that was really not quite as old as it looked (due to the relentless salt air), an aluminum food cover we used to wear like a helmet, Papa’s old Smith Corona typewriter keys, an old Band-aid tin (that I now keep plasters in), an old copper bell that resembles The Queen (although I am not sure which one), and Nana’s old thread that you also see at the top of my blog. All these items had become aged by good use, weather and time.


What hold did these things have over me anyways? I mean, they were not magic, unless you read my story about the helmet. I do think one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure. Hence my attraction to thrift stores. Seriously, who really likes to take pictures of curated junk as I have in the photo at the top of this post? I know it is a little loopy. I will admit that much.

To make sense of my memory hoarding condition, I mean, disposition, I read a book, Time Warped about our relationship with time by Claudia Hammond. In it she looks at why sometimes it feels like time is frozen, while at other times it feels like it is going at lightning speed. Our brains are so intricate and precious. They can store events, or hide them from us. Why is it that some of us can remember more than others? When I chat with my older sister about some of the experiences we collectively shared together, sometimes she remembers, other times she has no recollection even though I can see every detail crystal clear. This famous quote shared in Hammond’s book put my memory hoarding at ease:

“The longer you can look back, the farther you can look forward” – Winston Churchill

I believe the future, although unknown, can be just as beautiful as where I have been. So I am trying to be forward thinking. In a way, I am using these childhood memories to remember the future. And if these tangible treasures find another home or end up amongst the shelves of a thrift store, I know it will not be tragic. They are just things and gratefully, I am not a hoarder. It is the memories that I feel attached to.

To balance my tendency to look back, I keep a peaceful Buddha and an old rusty typewriter in my garden to remind me to be present. If Buddha could whisper to me I have a feeling he might say something like: Stop thinking so much, Rachel, we only ever have today.

[Photo: Rachel Bursey]
I get it. But I also believe daydreaming is important to help bridge the way. That’s what the typewriter is for. There is nothing wrong with thinking the best is not only now but is also yet to come. It gives us hope. Me at least. Enlightenment stories are abound if we are willing to look for them.

The Memory Hoarder by loopylocks
[Drawing: Hannah Bursey]

This line drawing is a portrait of me, created by my eldest over the Christmas holidays. According to her, it was “not very good” but I could see that she had captured my essence in an honest way… my unruly hair, sitting perched slightly forward, with my leg tucked under for comfort. Thinking about everything, as usual. © 2017 by Hannah Bursey. All rights reserved.