DON'T THROW THAT PLATE
“All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.”
- Martha Graham
I remember having a random spring clean some years ago, clearing our kitchen cabinets on a Saturday afternoon with my daughters, they were around the ages of 13 and 15 years old at that time. The girls enjoyed giving me a hand, especially when we made games out of chores.
They were helping to decide what kitchen stuff was staying, to be thrown or given away. We had emptied the food cupboard, checked expiry dates on tinned foods, spices; they took pleasure in throwing food that had passed their time. We carried on with clearing utensils and crockery, as we went forward with sorting our stack of plates my youngest daughter cried out “ mummy don’t throw that plate”, taking the plate off me. She held it by her chest, with her hands crossed. It was a large-size, deep yellow rustic Mediterranean style plate. It looked as good as new even though I have had it for many years. She insisted that we keep it while holding tightly on to the handcrafted plate. I asked her why she wanted us to keep it. She said, “this is the plate we had in our first flat; it reminds me of that house”. It was amazing to see how an ordinary plate could make a teenager unleash a flood of memories about her childhood, even at such a young age.
She was three, and her sister was five years old when they moved with me to the UK. I was told to stay back for work, and as an unplanned trip, I was unprepared for it. I found it challenging but pulled through with many valuable life lessons. I realised our humble beginnings with the three of us had a significant impact on my daughter. At that point, I kept the plate to grant my daughter’s wish, this time with the hope that it would bring happy memories. We can all identify with something that can trigger a thought or memory. Our brain remembers everything they need the right triggers like objects, feelings, sound, or taste to unlock a memory. It could be a teapot, a knitted throw, or a record player; these everyday objects can induce memories. Keep beautiful thoughts and change any painful memory by creating new ones. Life is about new experiences; even stuff you give away can give pleasure to someone else, so make your world exciting and let your true personality shine.
Many years have come and gone, the girls have grown and both girls had long left home to live on their own. They are both creating their reality, and over time we have all formed new associations. I have no idea where that plate is today; it is to be hoped that somebody might be making the most of it.
“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
- L.P. Hartley