There is a beret.
I am French, so I suppose if only to uphold stereotypes, I should own a beret, but I haven’t worn one since I was a seven-year-old in Paris with the Louveteaux, the French Cub Scouts. The only French person I know living in the US who has a beret also wears a long dirty trench coat. He looks like a demented Clouzot and scares people.
I am not sure where my beret comes from. There is no label, and it does not have the feel of a genuine beret Basque. Then I remember; it was a prop for a play I was writing about existentialism, because, really, you simply cannot be an existentialist without a beret. The beret goes into the Salvation Army bag.
What to do with the box of slides and eight millimeter film shot by my father some sixty years ago? I am moving to a place where space will be at a premium. Throw away or keep?
In the back of a commodious closet, I find a brand new case for a Fender electric guitar. My Fender Strat already has a case, so once again, a mystery. I can probably sell the case for a fifth of what I paid for it I don’t remember when.
Mon Dieu (sorry, reverting to type). Here is my great uncle’s Légion D’Honneur certificate, dated 1928. He was a minor official and served with the French colonial government in Rabat. Behind the certificate is a beautifully framed Sharpshooter Award bestowed in 1887 to a soldier simply named Guélin. How and when did I acquire this?
The house I am soon leaving has too many closets and too many treasures. For twenty-five years, I have been shoving the stuff I don’t want to deal with into closets, which explains why I have two ironing boards, a suede fringe jacket from the Sixties, a stringless 12-string guitar missing its bridge (sold! It will be picked up later today), a concertina, a home-made mandolin, and enough microphone stands for a Stones concert. I also have about eighty of those small plastic toys that hop or slither or crawl. Most were give-aways from the fast food places where I ate when I was very broke some decades ago.
Oh. In a drawer I find a seven-inch plastic articulated Albino Bowler, which was rated one of the Top Ten Weirdest Action Figure Ever by a collectors’ website.
Don’t ask. I’m keeping it.