It’s amazing how many books and papers and little knickknacks and strange odds and ends we accumulate each year. Every spring, I sell, donate, recycle, shred and throw away, piles and piles and boxes full of unnecessary stuff. The trouble is that I always struggle with what’s necessary, what is (or will be) important, what might be needed somewhere down the line. How much space do we have? What boxes can we keep? What furry animals, what toys, what school materials mean most–best represent the best of times and worst of times? What is help us remember? What past do we choose?
My parents surprised me this winter by showing me a book I made in the first grade. I vaguely remember making it. An assignment on writing a paragraph about our heroes. This wasn’t enough for me. On Saturday mornings, I’d wander around our basement, climbing over couches and performing scenes being played in the background on VHS while wearing my coonskin cap and loading and firing my replica long rifle. “I am Davy Crockett!” And four sentences was not enough to tell this story…
The little book is ten pages long, bound in wrapped-cardboard and tape and fully illustrated in pencil. I recognize my composition as a remix of two Disney films (Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier and Davy Crockett and the River Pirates) both starring Fess Parker and a small children’s picture book I owned titled Davy Crockett, Frontier Adventurer.
It is my favorite new-found treasure and a reminder that I’ve been writing stories since I’ve been able to hold a pencil. A memory that explains why I do what I do. Still.