What’s in Your Attic?

IMG_6955With my sister and her husband moving to Iowa (from TN) later this month, they both knew at least one thing had to be done before they left town: an attic clean-out.

What made this task oddly attractive was that their house used to be my parents’ home; it was where she—and I and our little sister—grew up. So some member of the Stiles’ clan has been in that home since 1974. Now you can see why that attic could prove to be a treasure trove!

While nothing up there would make the cut on the Antiques Roadshow, the memories uncovered undoubtedly deepened my belief in and commitment to the value of passin’ down the family heirlooms. Whether in pictures we take, events we describe, items we keep, or stories we share, so much is gained when we realize we’re not the first. Rather, we’re one in a (long) line of people who have come before us; to some degree, all of us stand on the shoulders of someone else. This simple realization, often communicated best through “stuff,” should blanket us with appropriate humility and perspective. Ah, there is great value in the attic!

FullSizeRender 2FullSizeRenderSo what did my sister find? Most of what was up there would mean nothing to the general InkLink readership. But two things were amazing: the Chattanooga (TN) newspaper from the day JFK was assassinated, and the Florence (SC) newspaper from the day America landed on the moon. As we opened the box in which they were contained, my mom and dad both began relaying even more details about where they were for both events, filling in many specific blanks about their lives at those precise moments. I simply listened intently as they both chatted away, smiling at each other, obviously travelling down memory lane to a time in their life that probably seemed like just yesterday. It made my heart sing!

Seriously, I started singing! Yes, I was reminded of a simple song by Ron David Moore from 20+ years ago, the chorus of which goes like this:

Life’s a lot like money:
You spend it, then it’s gone.
But it ain’t worth a nickel
Without family, friends, and home.

What’s in your attic? Or your parents’ attic? My guess is there’s more there than meets the eye. And if not, start filling yours up today. Save. Write. Record. Snap. Keep. Share. One day, someone much younger than you will be deeply grateful as they see their place in the line of men and women who share their name.

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