What is it about the attics in our mom's or grandmother's houses? No matter how old I was, when I went back to visit my mom, I always managed to sneak away into the attic for some quiet exploration. I never got tired of going through the old trunks and the Avon treasures my mom tucked away in tissue paper. I would spend hours up there in the musty half dark reading old dusty books that probably belonged to someone in my father's generation. I loved going up there, though I still can't say what mysterious force pulled me.
When my mom passed away, my sister and I once again found ourselves having to go through the attic treasures and pass them along to others or get rid of things that no one would want. We stumbled upon some of my mom's old dresses and the makeup she had hidden up there. Like two young kids, we giggled, painted our lips with mom's orange lipstick; and if could have fit into her petite dresses, we probably would have put them on. We joked about getting dressed up, made up, and going out like that for dinner somewhere. For an hour or two, we forgot about the pain of losing mom and laughed like children again. Knowing mom was a miser, we also found a huge stash of coins that she had hidden under a loose floorboard - - the stuff of mystery writers.
When I separated from my husband, I had to go through the treasures in my own attic; and nostalgia filled me again as I went through my kids discarded stuffed animals, old instruments left behind, my high school yearbooks tucked into a box, Christmas gifts bought and forgotten. Somehow the attic makes these things into treasures and memories. My own theory is that these elements of our lives were stored and temporarily forgotten; and finding them again along with the memories they evoke make them seem like found treasures that deserve to be lingered over and remembered.