Written: Jan. 24, 2016

I am beginning to put materials in order to try to write about the adventures of Raouf Ghattas in some form. I’m already finding that I get distracted easily, such as the 20 minutes I just took in looking through the list my dad still had of all the stuff we crated and took with us over 25 years ago to the Middle East…Yes, I have the packing list, Customs declaration and all! (Us Browns never throw anything away).

It is an amazing experience to look at all the stuff from your past and see what you still have. Here’s the basic list:

We have the same couch and chair we took out in 1991 — Raouf made it and had modified it over the years, but it is still the same one!

1 bookshelf (he made that too)
1 shoeshine box (he had that from long ago)
1 large picture — of the lion and the lamb together – his favorite
3 carpentry clamps and pipes (though I think we came back to the USA with many more)!
1 TV tray — yes, I have the same one I went out with! The child of my father…(family joke, but at least I only have one)
2 carved elephants – one was Raouf’s from India, one, mine from Kenya. They always move together.
1 binoculars — Raouf loved those binoculars.
1 trumpet — OK, so Raouf never actually played the trumpet, but he loved it and got it out periodically to irritate me. I still have it.
1 sewing machine — Raouf’s birthday gift to me the first year we were married. I cried and knew I could never live up to the sewing skills of his sisters, but at least used it to make a LOT of curtains over the years.
1 dining table — bought in TN and returned to TN, though Raouf replaced it just a few months ago with a table he saw and liked.
1 cedar chest — given to me by my brother, Joe, when I was in high school. It was jokingly called the hopeless chest, but I had it filled and ready when I got married. (In the South, we call them Hope Chests, for girls to get ready for marriage)
1 wooden flute — mine, which I loved to play
Crystal pieces – from our wedding (went around the world and never broke)
Measuring cups — love my Tupperware stuff
1 set of dishes — from our wedding. Fed a lot of people around the world. Could never change them. Too many memories there.

That’s it — A life filled with stuff, but not dependent on it. If I did it all again, I would not take a thing! For now my house is full of new stuff that was gathered throughout the years, each with a memory of its own. What’s amazing though is that it’s not the stuff that matters, but the people I remember behind it.

Thank you for letting me walk down memory lane a bit today. Thank you for being part of my memories.

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