“Memory can’t be stored, ready for retrieval like images on a videotape […] memory
is fallible, dependent on mood and circumstance, and subject to distortion.”
(Margaret Murphy)

The words keep repeating in my head. Before introducing you to my “object”, I would like to explain my own perspective on this quote, not because I want to contradict Margaret Murphy, on the contrary, because I couldn’t agree more with her statement.

First of all, memories can be triggered by different factors, silly, as some would say: that fresh breeze of air in the morning that reminds you of your countryside trip 3 years ago, or the way you a friend holding his tea cup that makes you think of your grandma, that song on the radio that brings back sad memories… Some memories are craved deep into our heart, and even the smallest gestures can make them ‘explode’. In one way, I guess this is exactly how some adverts work: they try to reach you by ‘calling’ your emotions.

Without wasting your time, I’d like to introduce you to my object, a piece of my past that brings a big smile on my face, but also tears into my eyes: a pair of Christmas Bells. 

I still remember the day my mom brought home these golden Christmas bells, 9 years ago… It was heavenly snowing and all the houses were covered in a white fluffy blanked.

Like every year, 2 days before Christmas, we used to bake cakes, cook our traditional food (http://traditionsacrosseurope.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/cabbage-rolls.jpg) and  decorate the house. The part where I contributed the most was, (and still is), helping with the decorations. I remember how excited I was for the new ornaments, especially for the bells, as I thought they were special because they made a sweet, calming sound that went perfectly with the atmosphere in the house, and their golden colour made me think of the sun, although outside the clouds were dancing in the sky.

I’ve put them ALMOST on top of the Christmas tree (I was quite short haha), as I wanted to show my mom and grandma that MY decoration is the prettiest and deserves to be higher than the rest. On Christmas morning we had our breakfast together, and I brought the bells with me, put them on the table next to the food, and started singing of excitement because ‘Santa’ got me a new pair of jeans that I wanted.

These Christmas bells don’t bring back only good memories with cinnamon flavor or only flashbacks of lovely faces. Sadly, they also have a bad memory attached to them. A year after, 3 days before Christmas, my dog died. I stopped using these Christmas bells for a few years, as I’m superstitious, but I have them with me in the UK because they do have a meaning, and no matter what, they’ll remind me of home and our Christmas traditions.

I would have loved for you to listen to a recording of my mom talking about the ornament, but she can’t speak English so I’ll be her translator. My mom recalls the day she bought the bells, and the excitement in the house. The bells remind her of me, of how happy I was when Christmas came. For her, the bells stand for family, for her child, and for celebration. Compared to the memories I get when I look the ornament, it seems that they don’t bring back memories of my dog, unlike me. She thinks of the happy times, the big snow outside and the flashing lights at the window.

All in all, the Christmas bells are part of my past, bringing me a sense of peacefulness, a sense of belonging. They do ‘play’ with my mood, because of the emotional luggage they carry, the images I get every time I look at them, and the analysis I do upon my life. One thing is for sure, the Christmas bells haven’t stopped collecting memories, as neither have I. With every year that goes by, they’ll embrace new feelings, and they’ll capture images, images that will be “photoshoped” by Mr. Time (as I’m pretty sure I won’t remember all the details right). I guess in one way, the bells are like ME…

Roxi Albescu

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