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Saturday, December 20, 2008


In an effort to reduce my belongings, I started rifling through the boxes & boxes of mementos that I have stashed in various places. I'm not a very sentimental person, but for me, my memories are all I have of my life so far.

Since my father was in the military, I grew up moving around, so I don't have a hometown or a place that holds my memories for me, waiting for me to return. I will never be able take a physical walk down memory lane. My whole life is only in the memories that I carry with me, & in my boxes of mementos.

Even so, I thought maybe I could pare it down so that my memories would at least be more portable. I had plans to scan old photographs & post them online so that I could get rid of the photo albums. I was going to throw out all of the movie ticket stubs that I've been saving. I was going to pile the most important things neatly in one or two little boxes, & I was going to let go of the rest of it.

But when I started looking through the mementos, they conjured up memories of all the mistakes that I have made in my life. I got through one box before it became too much to bear. I had to stop.

Perhaps I'll try again later.


michelle said...

I have a sort of photo journal of some parts of my life. When I pared down to move to AK that were left "unpared."

Wendy said...

Sorry, oye, I can relate. I was going the same awhile ago to clean out old boxes...and I had to stop.

joe said...

When I moved this past May I went through boxes and boxes of old stuff that I had been lugging around from state to state for years. I have always had a two bedroom apartment, and I do that so that I have a place to put those boxes. For years I have been lugging them around (from Virginia, to Oklahoma, to Utah, and then down here to Arizona). And you know what? They always stay in boxes in my spare bedroom.

So in May when I moved I spent weeks going through them all. I literally sat in the living room floor with a "keep" and a "throw away" pile. And when I say pile, I'm not exagerating. This was a freaking huge PILE over in the corner of my living room of stuff that I would actually "toss" into the things that I'd chosen to keep when going throufgh all of this stuff.

The "throw away" pile was even bigger. In fact, it was several truckloads of stuff. Some of it was clothes, I took all of that to good will. Some of it was old art/photographs that people (mostly my parents) had given me over the years, which had never made it up on my walls. There was this one big box of maps that I had been collecting for years on road trips I had taken. I'm emberrtased to say that there were also boxes and boxes of old paperwork which was meaningless that I just never through away (copies of old utility bills from years ago, for example).

The paperwork alone was 170 pounds worth. The reason that I know that was because I put it in two boxes and took them to have them shredded. Those guys charge by the weight, and that's what the weight of those two boxes of old useless papers weighed! 170 pounds! That's a person! (I had a friend come over and help me load the two boxes into the back of my truck. They were both so big and heavy that I could not lift them myself.

I kept the photographs, and I would encourage you to do so, too, Nancy. Photographs are different. You're right, they are memories. I had the brilliant idea of scanning them all into digital format, too... But like you I never found the time. My blog friend Missy ( recently found a bunch of old family photos and scanned them into digital format. She put a lot of those up on her web page, and everyone loved them. Photographs are different- keep those.

The rest of the stuff (in my case, anyway) was just a bunch of "stuff" that only had meaning to me. It was hundreds of pounds that I had been stubbornly lugging around for years, and it felt good to get rid of it. It was a liberating, "free-ing" feeling to unload it all.

Now, my spare bedroom in my new apartment is where I keep my model train set (which had been packed up for years because I had nowhere to put it).

Give yourself a good feeling, Nancy, unload that stuff. But keep the photos.

Charlene said...

Beautiful photo you chose for this, btw. I agree with Joe, keep the photos. I too have little boxes of memories all over my garage, and in the house. Some are from different eras, and some contain specific things, like playbills, or postcards.
I even have cocktail napkins that people have written on. :p
I've also kept just about every card I've ever received. I just keep piling them up and then putting them in a box. When you finally hit the road, could your parents, or someone, store some of your memories for you? Maybe you can pare them down a little, and store the rest.
Although I'm sorry to hear that they conjured up bad memories. :(
Maybe you should ditch anything that doesn't induce positive feelings.
Hmmm, or do we need to be reminded of past mistakes so as not to make them again?