Deep Cleaning

02-02-09 002

Josh with rear view of George

My son Josh and I just finished a long afternoon of hard work!

I have a storage shed in my yard that hasn’t been cleaned out for several years. It was a hard job physically and emotionally.

My late husband used to stashed all the stuff he knew he should get rid of but couldn’t bear to out there…

You know how it goes: none of the boxes was meant to live out there for long. Any moment he would have gotten to them. I found vet papers for Little Miss dated January 2003. That was in one of more recent stashes.

There were piles of recorded-from-TV video tapes, coils of stereo wire and miscellaneous connectors, microphones and stands; old users’ manuals from long-gone appliances; several score of empty music cassette boxes; long missing tools, and stray household paraphernalia.

Then there were the music cassettes.

Literally hundreds of cassette tapes he recorded from the radio, from LPs and later  from CDs — all just stacked and jumbled in cardboard boxes.

I waded through the mold, spiders and dust to pull out all the tapes I could find of Dennis himself playing music. All the rest I threw away, painful though it was.

Den's Birthday w/ Josh & Alley, 2005

A happy moment on Den's Birthday, with Josh & Alley, 2005

His music though, will be lost if I don’t preserve it.

Dennis was an amazing guitarist, great songwriter and pretty fair vocalist — but he didn’t read music. He used to record himself on cassette, label the tape “me” and just put it aside!

I salvaged a couple of dozen of such cassettes among the hundreds of others: “Music from the Heart of Space” and Alan Watts talks from NPR  recorded by Dennis in the 70’s; Live and alternate mixes of Eric Clapton, The Beatles (together and singly), Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, Phoebe Snow, Brian Eno, and other greats; an array of obscure singer-songwriters; old blues guitarists, and classical “classics.”

Now, grimy, mosquito-bitten and satisfied, I’m ready to call it a night. I’m very grateful to my son for helping and for being with me today as we cleared away the last remnants of Dennis’ physical presence and lay one more piece of the past to rest.

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