I’ve been reminiscing about my undergraduate days at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University. My interest was photography, but in the beginning you have to try other things, and I loved everything I tried: painting, drawing, sculpture, wood-carving, making furniture. I wish I had saved something, anything at all, but I am the opposite of a hoarder. Nothing makes me happier than paring down my possessions. But I’ve been a little too toss-happy throughout my life, alas. I wish I had one measly drawing to show for it all.
I console myself with how quickly possessions become meaningless after you die. A couple of generations and no one knows who you were. Quick! Name your great grandparents! Unless you’re the genealogist of the family you probably can’t. My paintings and drawings, had I saved them, would just end up in the garbage or in a flea-market somewhere.
But for now it would be nice for me, when I remember what a great time I had, to be able to look over at a painting, and remember the classroom, the smells, my clothes spattered with oils and turpentine, the teacher I had a crush on.
Does Finney remember the mice of his past? Actually, I know he does. Occasionally he goes over to the stove, where he last saw a mouse a couple of years ago, and he sits and waits faithfully, as if the mouse might one day return. Every cat I have ever had does this. I do not discourage them. “That’s right Finney. You wait right there. This is a good use of your time.”