Clearing the clutter of memories

Last summer I had the opportunity to bring home a carload of boxes from my mom’s house. There were star wars toys and comic books and other oddities. And there were at least three boxes worth of paraphernalia known as memories. I took a quick first pass through it all last summer and probably tossed a box worth of stuff. Then the kids arrived and they sat in my garage until now.  The boxes, not the kids!  That would be wrong.  Please don’t call DCFS!

This past summer I was able to go through it a little more thoroughly and I whittled down the boxes and combined it with the smaller set of boxes of personal mementos I’ve kept with me throughout the years. That’s right, not only did I keep the mother ship of ancient memories at my mom’s house, but I kept a runabout worth of stuff with me from apartment to apartment (to condo and then house) over the years.

I guess I’m just a sentimental old fool because I saved tons of things. I have notes passed back and forth in class and phone numbers of people I’ll never need to call. I had a ton of stuff from my high school and college years like course catalogs, class notes and assignments, the student newspapers I wrote for and other stuff.  [I went to two different colleges for undergrad so it stands to reason I have twice as much crap.]

I feel I did a pretty good job of clearing the clutter on this second pass. This stuff followed me around because it was significant twenty years ago but has little relevance now. For instance, I put all the Campus Chronicles I had in the recycle bin because who the hell cares about my expo about a meningitis outbreak at UIC in 1990. I also got rid of a ton of class notes and assignments that I’ll never read. I was reminded how much I hated the Spanish Dept at UIC. In college one of my “friends” punked me by sending a valentine gift to my from an “secret admirer”. No one ever claimed responsibility for this one but the odds are better that it was a prank than legit.

I want to make one more final pass before I put the boxes away for good, or at least until the next time I need to do it. There are still letters I cannot bring myself to re-read but cannot simple toss out yet.  I’m not ready to go full Buddha and fit everything into a paper lunch sack.


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