One of the themes of The Memory Collectors is our relationship to physical objects — the memories, emotions, and power they hold for us. Every week leading up to the book’s release, I’ll share the story of an object that’s special to me.
My husband bought these beans while we were living in our first apartment together. I’ve never liked baked beans, so I wasn’t going to eat them, and they got shuffled to the back of the cupboard. My husband forgot about them until we moved down the hall to a quieter unit…where the beans sat at the back of the cupboard for another year. They moved with us from Vancouver to Victoria, and back again. They moved to an apartment near the ocean in White Rock.
The beans were now five years old and had become sort of a joke. We’d laugh when we packed them up, and we’d laugh when we unpacked them, and then we’d slide them to the back of another cupboard. They were as old as our relationship. This is about the time that they became the lucky beans. Of course, as soon as a thing is labeled lucky, it becomes untouchable. We couldn’t eat them now. What would happen? We were stuck with them. We got married, and moved back to the city. We had a baby. We took the baby and the beans and moved across the country, and back again.
When the beans, and our relationship, turned twenty years old, we decided it was time–not to get rid of them, oh no. We stopped hiding the beans, and gave them a place of honour in our living room. Our daughter, now a teenager, finds them disturbing and weird. I mean, so do I, a little. We didn’t mean for a can of beans to become a symbol of our love, but that’s what happened. Also, they’re lucky, and everyone knows you can’t get rid of lucky beans.