Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's A Small World

My first real memory is of a linoleum floor,
cool and gray beneath my three year old body.
My mom was there- cooking- cleaning-
humming about the kitchen
while I played with a doll house.

It was nothing more than a tin box,
separated by thin tin walls-
all painted magically to look like
woven carpeting or fine wood
or tiny tiles.

Rust had taken over the edges
of my little house-
the furniture had broken long ago,
and the only doll I owned
would never fit into the front door.

Yet, there is something pleasant
about that memory.
Something innocent and pure.
Something that still causes me
total fascination at the sight
of miniature things.

One of my favorite collections
is my gathering of miniature chairs.
I picked them up at yard sales
and flea markets throughout the years-
never giving more than a few dollars each for them.
But, to me, they have become priceless.

Sounds silly, I know.
Even I thought so
and decided to give them away
a few years ago.

All but three or four.

But while trying to choose
which ones would stay or go,
I ended up keeping all of them.
They were a team.
A miniature chair family.

And each one had a memory.

...Of a cool morning scurrying across
a wet lawn and spying that tiny
wooden rocker tossed between
the boom box and the candlesticks
at someones garage sale...
...Of laughing with my sisters
as we sweat through our tee shirts-
not letting the summer heat
keep us from treasures-
like the butterfly chair with
itty-bitty beading...
...Of opening a little package and
finding that Linda had
sent me a gift of three small willow chairs
that are still my favorites...

What causes people to collect certain things?
-Cling to worn out baby blankets
and weathered books?
Why do some people seek out stamps
or bottles or comic books?

I think it's because of something
down inside their memories-
hidden so that they can't even recall.
A compulsion-
a need- a pull -
towards making a collective family.
A mission to fill their hearts and homes
with something once lost-
of objects innocent and pure...

I can still see that doll house so clearly.
And in my mind, each little room
has it's own little chair.

And I'm little, too.
Rocking in a chair
in my little rusty house-
where adulthood
is too big
to fit inside.