I got it when my grandmother died.
It's a large 1920's office desk.
I've had it for about ten years. I'm sitting at it right now.
It was some time before I felt comfortable about removing any of the files that what were in it.
At first I ignored the files entirely (around two years).
Then (as boring as they were) I sorted through them.
Then (about a year later) I shred them.
Goodbye. Kaput. Never coming back.They were mostly old check stubs, anyway. And a manuscript. Something about my grandfather's secret double life.
But they were taking up valuable desk space. And if I was ever going to really "live" my "life" it was important that I actually use this desk.
Besides, the check stubs were ridiculous. Checks were really big back in the 1940's. At least three times the size they are today.
I did keep a few things found in those files, though.
Like the check stubs from my mother's ballet classes.
Somehow they cost twice as much as my (modern day) ballet classes cost.
So, some of it was kept.
Some of it.
I had to be heartless.
Because (as it turns out) my mother is completely incapable of throwing anything away.
I've done the math:
my mom = (a happy childhood) + (baby boomer) + (luxury)
x (WWII did not happen to me) + (free to be you and me) + (small apartment) + (guilt) + (incredulousness)
= I am a bad daughter from the future
= my mom lives in the past (infinity)
So, I never tell my mom anything. Ever (about any files).
Strangely, back in the mid nineties, when I first received the desk - my apartment suddenly smelled like grandmother's house.
For a couple of months.
This fell somewhere between ok and disconcerting.
It wasn't a bad smell.
Just not at all the way my apartment smelled (at the time).
That is, not a vodka smell, not an acne medicine smell - but more of a Rive Gauch, instant coffee, mildew and bananas smell.
My grandmother's house.
In my living room.
All the time.
Which felt like a constant half frown from my grandmother.
Yes, I'm here.. yes, I completely disapprove..
But, like so many ghost related issues, it resolved itself.
It went away.
And whole years past.
I moved.. I went on a trip to Ireland.. I went back to school..
I celebrated the turn of the millenium..
I got a job.. I got a phone.. I changed my hair..
And life went on.
But (then) just yesterday - I realized something has been bothering me.
For about a week.
The smell (Rive Gauch, instant coffee, mildew, bananas)
(end of disc one)