Sara Kirschenbaum
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Posted Monday, May 11th, 2009 at 2:59pm

My poet friend Beth Enson has told me that I am good at describing detritus. I took it as a compliment. Now I see where I get it from. Here is a section of text from my grandfather's memoir that I am working on. I try to type up 5 pages a day. I found this section today where he describes some of the unseen things he and my grandmother bought when they, on impulse, bought an island from the estate of a deceased professor at Yale:

"We had bought unknowingly an attic full of strange marvels and a boat house filled with many others: a box of old dresses and a trunk of stuffed birds; old lanterns and gasoline stoves; tools to aid a dozen professions; bolts and poisons, ancient primers, books on strawberries and German villainy and trilobites and spiritualism; rat traps, deer skins, hones and mouse dung, axe-handles, crutches, bird seed, resin; spikes and canvas, vises, solder; dumbbells, pipe-dies, carburetors, chair seats. The treasure hunt was thrilling and perpetual. Load upon load we assorted – in or doubtful or out. We knew nothing of the tides and would throw out a moldy straw mattress in the morning and a dried horseshoe crab at noon only to find that by evening the crab had come riding back to shore on his mattress raft."

Funny thing is I remember there being a giant dried horseshoe crab around the house when I was growing up. Do you think it could be the same one - returned on its raft?


  1. Beth Wrote on Sunday, Nov 22nd, 2009 at 6:11am

    absolutely fabulous collection of items... Thank you Sara! And it WAS a compliment...

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