Arriving at the KNOM house is like exploring an onion. It’s got layers — and, oddly enough, little explanation for how those layers got there or what they meant to the people that put them there. The back of the trash room door has a picture of a yelling woman and a penciled-in speech bubble. How it got there no one knows. What it means is a larger mystery. However, for every mysterious picture there is an equal memento whispering common bonds. Amongst the book cases in the house, you see novels by Sara Vowell, a This American Life contributor. Just one of the house’s subtle reminders that they listened to lots of radio, too.
The house has lots of left-behind winter gear as well. Personally, I’m prone to wearing a yellow jacket that’s one or two sizes too big for me. There is still an old pen in that jacket. I can’t tell if it remains there because I plan on using it; or I want to hide something for the next person who picks it up. The mysteries contained in the house’s objects unmistakably call out to our volunteer year as well.
“Leave your mark,” the house softly creaks.
The donations we will make during our volunteer year are ones of love. There is both a food processor for tasty hummus and a rice maker, along with a tasteful smattering of movies to add to the DVD collection. We hope the artifacts from our year make our legacy useful and practical. This desire to give next year’s volunteers a leg up is a thread that holds all KNOM alumni together. It’s a legacy stronger than the items found on the bookshelf.
Listen above to hear what KNOM staff members had to say about how things accumulate in the house!