Lessons from moving: You can box up the past and bring it along

I’m in the middle of clearing out 23 years of stuff in order to move from one house to another and am reminded how very good I am at saving things that appear to be important at the time. Some of them are.

In the past few days I have come across my dad’s glasses from 1950, my high school freshman term paper on the tundra (a project that bonded me with three of my still best friends), and several years’ worth of diaries that I’m afraid to read for the probable cringe-worthiness of my various young teen crushes and dramas.

I saved my favorite books that I read to my kids back in the day – Busy Day, Busy People which showed people at work on construction sites, hospitals etc., Amelia Bedelia who took everything literally, and Father Gander’s Nursery Tales which put a feminist spin on familiar stories.

I even have in hand my favorites from my own childhood:

No Children, No Pets about a mother-led family who moves into an inherited apartment building filled with zany neighbors in Florida,

Homer Price about a boy who has various quirky small town adventures including one about not being able to shake earworms from a snappy song, and,

Cheese, Peas, and Chocolate Pudding about a boy who would eat only those foods and no others.

In case anyone is interested in writing a pre-computer-age novel of their own, I have two old typewriters.

And notes from talks I used to give in my early counselor days on topics such as Suddenly Single, Love or Co-Dependency?, The Assertive Woman, and Stress Resilience. I once had to give 14 different sessions to air traffic controllers on Alcoholism vs Problem Drinking. The only way to pull that off is to tell stories, I soon learned. Several of them told me on their way out that it wasn’t as bad as they’d feared.

I could tell you more but we’d be here all night and I have boxes to pack. I bet you have things too lurking around. Maybe you can grab one of them and renew your acquaintance. I consider these things to be my external memory storage devices, helping me keep a grip on the high and low points in my past, while I enjoy my present, which has involved numerous trips to Goodwill.  I’m not quite as good at letting go as I am at holding on though. Hence those boxes.


This post is in response to this month’s ChicagoNow BlogapaloozHour challenge: “Without trying to be humble, write about something you’re really good at.”


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