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Oh, the Things I’ve Saved

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-9-47-57-amPacking everything in the house, where Husband and I have lived for 32 years, is a monstrous task. And so many times, I’ve blinked my eyes, shook my head, and wondered, “What was I thinking?” I’ve saved stuff that is going straight to the trash or recycling and stuff we’ve donated or boxed for a springtime garage sale.

Until now, I’ve never considered myself a pack rat, a hoarder. I’m sentimental and practical, my excuses for stashing away so many things.

A white bag labeled Happy New Year has hung in a guest bedroom closet for at least ten years since Husband and I hosted a few friends on New Year’s Eve. I thought the Grands would like the noisemakers and headbands. After supper one night last week, they blew those horns outside for five minutes, and I knew none of us would ever see the contents of that bag again. There’s a reason for the name, noisemakers.

Surely the five pairs of panty hose were good at one time. Now the elastic is stretched and the hose would fall to my ankles. And why did I hold onto a device that never worked? A battery-operated, hand-held gadget to remove fuzz from sweaters.

I must have kept every flower vase I ever touched. Tall clear glass ones. Short squatty ones. White plastic. Bud vases. Bouquet vases. All can be reused and I hope someone puts beautiful flowers in the ones I donated. Same with mugs. Some I don’t even like. How many hot drink cups does anyone need? Yes, extra mugs can hold pencils and toothbrushes, but I don’t keep pencils and toothbrushes in every room in my house. Well, I do keep pencils everywhere, but I don’t need mug holders everywhere.

While packing the drawers of my kitchen hutch, my friend said, “Here’s another rock.” A flat gray, silver dollar sized rock. She’d already laid aside others: limestone, creek, volcanic, sandstone, slate, granite, calcite, and more. None valuable. All collected from somewhere special, at the moment, or given to me by someone special, forever. Then she held a creek rock, slightly smaller than a deck of playing cards that had been painted gold. “This one must be a keeper. It’s painted,” my friend said. She was right.

When I pulled open the travel filing cabinet drawer, I smiled. All those trips. All those folders labeled with places and dates and in alphabetical order. Some filed away before the days of technology when searching for hotels and restaurants wasn’t as easy as typing a question in a search engine. When information was shared by travel agents and friends. I kept a menu from Boston’s Bull and Finch Pub, made famous by the television program “Cheers.” A map of Maine. A brochure from Chicago’s Field Museum. And from a more recent trip, I saved a river cruise dinner menu. Did I just want to remember that I’d eaten potage de legume, vegetables in cream? And after I showed the Grands a brochure of Thomas Jefferson’s Library in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., why did I file it?

I must have put every picture developed from my Kodak Instamatic camera in picture albums. There’s no time to go through all those pictures now, but I glanced at a few. Who’d save a blurry photo of college girls wearing baby doll pajamas and hair rollers and sitting on a dormitory bed? Or a picture of school children at environmental camp and all you can see is their backs?

Oh, the things I’ve saved.


4 Responses

  1. Been there done that. But what fun it is to see empty drawers in the new house – for a few days.


  2. It seems so overwhelming but also so freeing to get rid of all those things.


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