Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Packrat Central

I admit it: I'm a packrat.

I come by it naturally. My Dad likes his treasures. He has one collection of old tools. He has another of belt buckles. He has an unusual Winchester collection, which includes everything except the company's famous guns.

I have a terrible time letting go of things. It's not an affliction shared by my daughter or husband. Before Jill's party celebrating her graduation from high school, the two co-conspirators waited for a day when I was gone. Then they made a stealth attack: They sorted through the kids' old toys in the basement and carted them off to the dump before I could go through the piles, piece by piece.

It was a smart move on their part. I know that in my head. But my heart sees those dollies and tractors and trucks as an integral part of Jill & Brent's childhood. They are the things attached to memories of their childhood.

(I did put my foot down when it came to books. Those are safely stored away in plastic tubs patiently awaiting the arrival of grandchildren. And no, I'm not putting any pressure on the newlyweds. They can also be for the arrival of a great-nephew, which we are all anxiously awaiting any time now!)

Anyway, Jill & I sorted through some things in her room when she was home this weekend. I was embarrassed there were still a few boxes of wedding supplies in her bedroom, and here we were at the 1-year anniversary.

In my defense, there were things Jill had said she wanted to use in her own home. I didn't want to give away anything she actually wanted.

But once you get Jill started, it's time to break out the trash bags. We ended up with a laundry basket and several trash bags full of college notes.

I was OK about all of that (though I envision all the college book and tuition costs being hauled away in her Dad's pickup).

But then she started going through her high school photos and memorabilia.

"Wait, you're throwing away all your memories!" I exclaimed at one point as she stuffed a packet from a high school awards banquet into a plastic trash bag.

She calmly looked at me and said, "Mom, when was the last time you looked at stuff from your high school awards banquet?"

Well ... um ... humph.

"Well, maybe you'll want to show your kids some day," I offered.

She looked at me with a smile and said, "I'll tell them their Grandma made me clean out my childhood bedroom on my first wedding anniversary so that she could make it into a dressing room."

NO! No, I tell you. I am recording this so I will not be blamed at some future date for the lack of appropriate memorabilia and old boyfriend's cards at which any potential grandchildren could use to ponder, laugh and make clever remarks about their mother.

It was not my fault, I tell you.

Like a steamroller, Jill moved on to the closet (which, I have always shared with her since we have no room in our bedroom closet). And by the time she'd weeded out several things, I was inspired to add my own things to the boxes of items going to the church bazaar.

Jill just needed to stay longer so we could start working on the basement.

But, I'll have you know that my dear daughter's remarks did prompt a look at my bright orange high school senior yearbook, circa 1975, and other items I had stuffed in the pages I had lovingly edited a mere 35 years ago (Yikes!).

And believe it or not, there was a program from the Skyline High School Athletic Banquet, Saturday, May 3, 1975.

So, Jill, to answer your question: The last time I looked at my high school awards banquet memorabilia was August 10, 2010.

I will refrain from saying "I told you so." (Or maybe not.)


  1. Okay, I feel better. I have kept all my kids stuff. The girls did a major cleaning of their room this week. ( Many trash bags of memories) Finally, I just left and let them toss. I figure if they aren't going to miss it then I won't either. Now to work on the basement and other bedroom. I would NOT let them toss any books.

  2. Just for clarification: I didn't make the "keep sorting" comment. My husband evidently did while logged onto my account.

    Anonymous: I definitely feel your pain! But I will see if I can follow my husband's directive and keep sorting.

  3. Randy, you rascal!!
    In our family, I am the thrower awayer and Dave and the girls are the keepers. However, my girls are forced to get rid of things when they can no longer step into their closets!! I feel great satisfaction when bags go to the garbage or Goodwill!! I do feel panic that I do not have scrapbooks for them or even organized momentos for them and then realize I didn't ever even do my own wedding album. Sigh.....