Nov 17, 2021
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Memory of life

Memory of life

The memory of our life is kept, including things. We accumulate them while we live, we always lack something. And then the day comes when it seems that things get in the way, take up space, are tired, out of fashion, have lost their presentation … This is how they end up outside our home.


Life is an eternal struggle against chaos. With a chaos of thoughts tearing apart consciousness, external circumstances beyond our control, our own desires, the consequences of which are not always calculated, finally, with everyday chaos. We complicate and simplify everything.

For example, giving up property in a way makes life easier, but at the same time wreaks havoc on meaninglessness. After all, old houses and various things that live with us – books, household items and art objects – are our individual world, the memory of our unique life. Once a teenage son asked Academician Zelinsky a question: “Dad, what does a person consist of?” The question was logical, because it was asked to an organic chemist. However, the father gave his son a completely philosophical answer: “Man consists of one substance – memory.”

I love visiting antique shops, they awaken the imagination. Old things can tell a lot about the era in which they were created, about the aesthetic preferences of their owners, paint their images. But I don’t buy anything. I simply cannot admit someone else’s into my house. For example, I look at the silver spoons and think about who used them – suddenly a patient? And who strangled whom on this luxurious bed? But did this piece of jewelry bring a lot of happiness to its owner or, on the contrary, was it the reason for the crime?

That is, I’m trying to understand why all these things left the family for free swimming. But no! It’s better to buy new things and create your own story without weaving other people’s destinies into it. Thanks to collectors who think differently from me and who preserve artefacts for generations to come.


Nowadays a lot of interesting things can be bought on the Internet, on Avito, but if you want to hold the thing in your hands first, then it is better to go to a flea market. Not on the ones that are spread out along the railway near Moscow, but on the territory of the Museum of Moscow, in the former food warehouses. Even if you are not going to buy anything at all, you should come here just on a tour, for human types for a painting, if you are an artist, for a plot for a short story, if you are a writer …

Most of the people who go to the flea market do it out of extreme necessity. People buy pots, pans and other household items there because they are cheaper. Sometimes they go to flea markets, if something is broken, they are looking for a spare part in order to fix the thing on their own. Well, someone goes for visual pleasure: a flea market is such an open-air museum.

Here they make acquaintances, sometimes nodding ones – for one day. You get tired of sitting in one place – you walk, talk to the same as you, amateur sellers. One lively young woman was selling Limoges porcelain, parting with the collection was forced – there was nothing to pay for parking. But the sad lady sat in the shadow of the museum building with a collection of German porcelain plates. Collected together with her husband, but he died. Children do not need this good, grandchildren are no longer expected. “And I want to travel. And it has become expensive to treat teeth too ”- that’s what I learned by talking to her.

My friend, going to a flea market, deliberately emphasizes her venerable age and need – this is the reception of an experienced merchant. Imagine: she sold an old magazine rack to a customer, the look of which indicated that she, perhaps, would not even look at such a thing, let alone take it in her hands. I admit, I would have taken it to the trash heap long ago. But! An ugly piece of green cloth, figuratively cut around the edges, with faded appliqué, with long-rotted threads that once held the sides of the magazine rack, in a word, this, to say the least, kind of unpresentable thing was bought! What for? My explanation: to the museum. Where else? The spindle, which is completely useless in modern life, probably went there too …

I got lucky too. Summer gloves made of white dederon, adorned with black velvet peak badges and ruffled wrists, are now in production. They were conceived in some places – after all, they are not far from 100 years old! They were bought by a girl with a burning gaze, she said that she would give it to her friend, who is in one of the reconstruction clubs of previous eras.

I also sold old rubber boots. Whites, bought in the late 1960s in Germany, are extremely strong. They piqued the interest of a strange young woman. It was very hot that day, but she was dressed as if she were going to pick mushrooms in the forest in cloudy cold weather. Trousers are tucked into long-worn winter boots, a warm jacket, a woolen scarf on my head, and some knots and sacks in my hands. For a long time she twisted my boots in her hands, tried on, thought something. Finally, I gave them up for 300 rubles …


In general, it is a pity that I do not have the talent of the artist Surikov, otherwise I would have captured for the history of all these representatives of the social strata of Moscow.

People on this flea market in the center of our city are more creative. Interesting episode. One day a young man came up to my friend and I – as if just out of the shower, so clean, well-groomed, in new clothes, as if he had just come from the store, clean-shaven and well-cut. Unhurriedly touched all our things and finally settled on the briefcase. The briefcase was stylish, expensive, but outdated. A friend found it in the trash, washed it and brought it to the flea market. The man inquired about the price. Walked away. I spoke for a long time with someone on the phone, glancing in our direction – coordinated. I returned and bought it for 200 rubles. What for? What if he is a theatrical figure and the portfolio is now a props? Isn’t it interesting!

Our things characterize us. They must be protected, if only because they are the equivalent of human energy invested in them when creating and saving, as well as the energy of love of their purchaser. And also things are witnesses not only of our personal history, but also of the fate of the country.

At the flea market, a person meets his childhood or finds things “like grandma’s.” In general, time is felt well in things, they carry their former beauty. They have survived catastrophes, wars and other unfortunate circumstances. And it is also important that things at the flea market have some irreversibility – after all, no one makes such things anymore.

They are witnesses of how we treated life, what we cherished and what we lost. Somewhere in the early 1990s, neighbors in my house were doing repairs and put on the street solid furniture made of natural wood, mid-20th century, and in good condition, but, apparently, boring. What do you think? Early in the morning a truck drove up to the house and two agile young guys quickly and deftly loaded the furniture into the back and drove away. They worked energetically, they were probably afraid that yesterday’s owners would change their minds and come to their senses. I was glad for them: thinking people gave decent furniture a second chance for a decent life.

People! Do not rush to throw away the long-term witnesses of your destiny!

Daria Kasatkina

Photo: Adobe stock

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