Museum of Memory, Castaways and Polymers

Mackow cigarette-2243.jpg

I was 16. I was in London. Kids were still allowed to roam foreign cities without adults. So, I was wandering around London without an adult.

C., a good friend, and I wandered the city. I purchased and carefully stashed a British music mag with Robert Smith on the cover. It came with a free cassette, which introduced me to the lovely Christine Perfect and Chicken Shack's song "I'd Rather Go Blind" (also on the Songs I Could Listen to Twenty Times and Again List).

C. and I went to a comic book store.  We befriended a couple guys who worked at the shop and agreed to meet at a pub later. One guy was named Sheep. We took a shine to each other.

Sheep had long blonde hair, wore combat boots, jeans, and an Einst├╝rzende Neubauten t-shirt. And, he had an accent. And, I was 16. Did I mention I was smitten?

C. didn't drink, but I did. I asked him to come with me, and he did.

I bought a pint, which the Brits told me women did not typically do. I drank the whole thing. Fast. Which women also did not typically do, they told me. I wasn't sure if they thought I was cool, weird, or American, or all of the above.

We met up another time. I bummed a cigarette as a souvenir. I didn't confess to Sheep my reason to taking his cigarette. Later, I carefully stashed the cigarette and magazine in my suitcase, and flew home.

Back at home, my Mom found the cigarette in my suitcase and yelled at me.

I called Sheep few times. We spoke for minutes at a time on payphones. We exchanged letters. Soon, the hopelessness of our international love affair was obvious, and that was the end.

 Switch plate from paternal grandparents house.

Switch plate from paternal grandparents house.

 Mother's cat and mouse pins removed from garage sale table.

Mother's cat and mouse pins removed from garage sale table.

 Childhood ring.

Childhood ring.

 Glass bottles taken from burn site along Skyline Drive.

Glass bottles taken from burn site along Skyline Drive.

 Sponge holder from maternal grandparents house. Twice broken.

Sponge holder from maternal grandparents house. Twice broken.

 Ceramic tile. Residue of maxed out credit card.

Ceramic tile. Residue of maxed out credit card.