Holding this peach in my hand today, weighing it, remembering back to a time. To a time
when it sat in my father’s library in Manhattan’s upper east side. When I was a child, the peach used to be fuzzy, but it isn’t anymore. It was always heavy as a stone. It is stone or something quite heavy like marble perhaps. This peach has always lived in this Majolica plate…a wavy curly green leaf of chard. It had suffered a large break and now sported a clumsy glue repair. I could not recall if that repair was part of my memory. So many hands had fondled this nearly perfect object. Just as I had. That peach was worn out. It had lost its fuzz–like old balding men…like my father.
A few years ago, on a visit to California, I saw the plate and the balding peach again in my father’s widow’s home. I saw all my childhood there. I had grown up surrounded by furniture from France; an ornate mirror and writing desk from my grandmother that eventually migrated to my father’s apartment. Two heavy cast iron Charles X chairs, a brass heron standing lamp. Paris, New York and now, Los Angeles. “I have left you all the furniture in my will,” she explains matter-of-factly. That was nice, but she is only 12 years older than I am. Who says I will outlive her? How soon am I likely to get the furniture that holds my entire past?
She did not react to my expression of eagerness about the strange green plate and its old
peach. She did not offer them to me. She didn’t say anything like “Oh, would you like them?” She simply started talking about something else. And so I instinctively stopped hoping and moved on to her next topic. Where did all the fuzz go to?
Several months later, a package arrived and in it I found the plate and the peach.
They have stood sentinel together for decades. Their life together was much older than mine. And now we are all here together one last time.
I weigh the sad peach often in my hand and ponder the lost fuzz. I start this family memoir with a certain wistfulness, a bit of trepidation, unsure of where the journey will take me. Witnesses to the story die and the memories die with them. Objects remain… stubbornly, remarkably. How shall I solve the puzzle?
How shall I glue the story back together?
Recovering memories is like trying to put the fuzz back on a peach.
Artifact by artifact I will meander back in time and place.
Each item sparks a variety of strands of memory.