I’ve been talking a lot lately about needing to clean up, weed out, and pare down my stuff. I’m actually looking forward to it. I think it will feel like the whole-house equivalent of a satisfyingly clean closet.
On the flip side, I’ve been known to hang onto things. I have a great red t-shirt that I clearly remember my mom buying me at the Gap when I was home from college my freshman year. I have (and still wear) the same penny loafers that show up in a lot of pictures in my high school yearbooks. I have my baby blanket locked in a secret cabinet in a desk downstairs. I have old (excessively melodramatic) journals. I love the history of those things as much as the objects themselves.
So I try to be careful when I’m editing my life into shape, but sometimes things do fall through the cracks, literally or figuratively. Here are some that I’d love to have back.
Mix Tape from Mike. My friend Mike Lurry, who was a designer at the publishing firm where I was doing ultra-junior marketing work, made me a mix tape when I was trying to get started running. I loved it and it worked. With his sounds in my ears, I did eventually start reliably jogging along the East River in NYC. I’d never have thrown the tape out, but I might eventually have just worn it out.
Saint Christopher Medal. I’m not religious, but I went to an Episcopal camp for many years and it was such an important place to me growing up. I’d wear a Saint Christopher medal (given to us at camp) all year to remind me in the winter of the things and people that mattered to me in that summer place. No idea where it is now. It’s small enough to have been lost many places along the way.
Notes with Ann. Needing to take it a step further than just passing notes back and forth in high school, my friend Ann and I had a whole notebook that we passed back and forth. It was filled with thoughts, pictures, messages. I’d love to put my hands on that right now and find out what we were thinking then. I wouldn’t have thrown this out either. It has to be around here somewhere, or maybe I was just the last one to pass it on.
The Stick of Tons. Kind of a long story, but essentially this was a stick that my roommates and I wrote on and passed around in college. Yep, a stick. One of them mailed it to me years later and it instantly made me smile. I know it’s in the house somewhere now. Sooner or later I’ll come across it and send the smile on to one of them.
1974 Volkswagon Beetle. My first car. Losing this was not an accident, obviously. An old car with no air conditioning is just not a reliable way to get around after a certain point. I loved it though. Every car since has been a helpful vehicle, but that Beetle was part of my sixteen-year-old soul. I’d buy it back tomorrow if I could.
You can’t keep everything, I know, and objects aren’t as important as the memories that they represent. But if I could I’d put those things in a box that I could open from time to time, just to connect with past days and friends, and to bring them along with me now.