My wife has come to be called “Oma.” How so? It’s a short term for a grandmother. More on that some other day.

My theme is suggested by a sign: “Oma’s … Attic.” Yes, it is an actual place not far from where we live in retirement. And indeed a powerful place-name, one I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

An attic can be a scary place. We may go up on tiptoe at Halloween, in search of costume parts, then quickly leave it behind for another year. It may be something we think about once in a while. “I am going to have to go through all that.” Yet holidays come and go and it’s still there, another year of good intentions. I think of all the excuses I have made.

I’m afraid of what I might find – or not. Memories can be painful. I don’t want those baseball cards (books, “I Like Ike” buttons, letters) to be moth-eaten or gone missing. I don’t want to make more of a mess … et cetera. So I just avoid the subject. We get distracted by the closets that others supposedly have. What a jumble of stuff!

An attic can become a place where we shove all the debris of our lives, and this year we surely could have more than usual.

Or we could become reacquainted with our own “Oma.” Trustworthy guides may be given, our keepers of memories. Perhaps that’s what makes curators and historians so important. Fortunately, the actual physical Grandma’s attic in my life was not always a scary place. I had an Oma to go with it.

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