I don't ever give enough credit here to the man who makes it all happen for our family. Thanks for everything you've done for us Mike, for how hard you work every day, and for picking up all my slack over the last 4 days. We love you.
I don't consider myself a hoarder. Clothes, household items, magazines, clutter-y stuff. . . all those I can get rid of easily. Off to Goodwill you go!
But. I'm kind of a memory hoarder. I found a box in our attic while looking for my passport the other day. Inside I found a treasure trove of STUFF from my early 20s: from my senior year of college to my first years in Chicago. I don't think I'd opened it since we moved to this house 7 year ago, so it felt like a time capsule.
Full of notebooks, old photos and postcards (I was already a collector of weird old stuff, even 10 years ago), letters, pictures, art projects, meeting notes, phone numbers, post-its. . . you name it, I kept it.
This little metal case originally held chocolates. When I opened it, it literally spilled with stuff. Photos, bus tickets, lire, business cards, those free advertising postcards they had at all the bars in Rome.
"DJ Friendship" was my on-air name at the college radio station. And there's a little setlist for one of my radio shows.
Such a random set of photos I found in this box: childhood pictures, photos my mom sent of relatives, and some college photos (that group shot is my Rome classmates and I at a buffalo farm where they made fresh mozzarella). I found that little playing card on the ground in a park near the Tiber River.
One of my little robots. Katie Licht: drawing things with eyepatches since 2002!®
A "family photo" my friends and I had taken at the Wal Mart photo studio in Iowa City.
I saved the case stickers on all the CDs I bought. I either put them into my notebooks or stuck them on my car's dashboard. Don't CDs seem like so long ago?
I found a few lists in these notebooks that are either comforting or disheartening. Comforting in the knowledge that I really haven't changed much. Disheartening in the fact that I'm still working towards some of these goals (write more letters! make more art! how many times have I written those things in a to-do list?). I really like the last one there: "Figure out what happened to my youthful self confidence."
No, that reading list is NOT too aggressive, not at all, 22 year old self.
I also find it reassuring that even in my chaotic early 20s, I was searching for discipline: "run & attend church regularly."
Nothing like Joni Mitchell lyrics doodled in a work notebook to perfectly encapsulate what my life was like at age 22.
And this: a polaroid from my 23rd birthday lunch with my co-workers.
I think my plan now is to put the lid back on and not open it again for another 7 years. In the meantime, there's at least half a dozen boxes in the attic or my parents basement full of the same kind of stuff. I just can't bring myself to get rid of it, but who knows what will happen to all of it? Will my kids or grandkids want it? I like to think that maybe I'll keep it and donate it all to a thrift shop 50 years from now, and make some vintage-loving girl's head explode.
Ten years ago this week I was starting my semester of studying abroad in Rome. To say my experience there was a turning point in my life would do it a disservice. So much of who I am and how I've changed all starts from those four months. What I eat, drink, and wear. Who my best friends are. The art I make. How I feel about myself and the world.
Our time there was such a contrast of light and dark. I spent a lot of my days in Rome feeling melancholy, for many reasons, but mostly because I arrived on September 6, 2011, and you know what happened a few days later. It was scary, but strangely not too scary to us. We didn't have a TV. Internet news wasn't really a big deal to us then. So we didn't witness those weeks and weeks of neverending news coverage. . . and for that I can say I still don't think I fully comprehend the way most Americans feel about the event.
But the darkness was only one small part. We had FUN. Man oh man did we have fun. (Okay, I will admit to maybe sometimes having too much fun, even.) But what we saw everyday, where we travelled, the once in the lifetime things we did, I would never give any of it up. The bond our group of classmates had was phenomenal and to this day many of my best friends are those that lived in the six stories of Vicolo delle Vacche #3. (I even noticed while writing this that I find it hard to use the pronoun 'I' while talking about Rome. It feels more correct to say 'we.' The Rome 2011 graphic design hive mind.)
Anyway. Pictures. I have hundreds more and I think I'll be sharing them bit by bit through the next few months.
My studio space.
Exploring around Via Condotti and Piazza di Spagna.
Renae and I at Villa Borghese.
Cooking dinner at the white plastic picnic table. I think this was Thanksgiving?
Somewhere in Naples, I believe? I can tell this photo was taken near the beginning of the semester because my clothes look really clean & Americana. Near the end of the semester all I remember wearing were black stretchy pants from the flea market and benetton sweaters. And we all needed haircuts REAL bad.
And a bonus: here's the Google streetview of our apartment, only a few blocks away from Piazza Navona. We were so lucky. My 7 roommates and I lived on the 6th floor. MAGICAL.