Every time I'm back at my parents' house in Minneapolis, where I spent my high school years and college summers, I sort through my belongings and get rid of things. At first that entailed taking things off the walls and emptying out dressers. Then it was packing boxes into the attic. Now, it means going through each box in the dusty attic and taking out each item and remembering and then deciding to toss (slash donate) or to keep it. I should note that no one makes me do this; I love the process. I find that every time I am ready to get rid of more, though there are many things I still cling to with nostalgia.
I spent the last week in Minneapolis for a writing conference, and this time I got even more serious about getting rid of things and consolidating boxes, since my parents will likely be selling the house and moving in about a year. Here are a few of my "toss" and "keep" items.
Keep: Musikit Teddy
Sad story about this little guy. He has a music box inside him which used to play Brahms' Lullaby--I enjoyed winding him up and listening to the song as a kid. Then one time in a fit of adolescent rage, I threw him at a wall and the music box shattered. Now, even though he just rattles, I can't bring myself to give up my little Musikit. Just look at that sweet face.
Keep: Box O Barbies
Large chunks of my childhood were spent dreaming up Barbie families and kingdoms and adventures with Kara and Cassie. We had elaborate multi-story palaces (i.e. bookshelves, in my case) decorated with a mix of a few actual plasticky Mattel brand things and heaps of our own creations: calendar cutouts, bits and pieces of broken jewelry, wooden and stone carvings, scarves, hand-made crowns and clothes. I understand reservations about Barbie and body image issues, and I also have philosophical doubts about her in theory, but my own experience was pure. It's hard to explain.
Toss: Orlando Bloom Paraphernalia
I'll give you one guess which Lord of the Rings movie character was my favorite. In the early 2000's, I had up one or two *NSync posters, a couple Josh Hartnetts, and the rest of my wall space was dedicated to Orlando Bloom. I don't even know why I still had these--Isaac will be glad to know I recycled these immediately after taking the picture.
Keep: My First Book of Poems
To remember those humble beginnings.
Toss: Travel Junk
I was somewhat of a packrat when I was a kid. Every postcard, train ticket, subway map, museum brochure, and gum wrapper from our world travels was precious to me. I think I intended to make beautiful scrapbooks, but mostly it ended up becoming piles. The few scrapbooks I did make have sophisticated and useful commentary like "This town was really boring" or "Painting by some artist."
Toss: Sticker Books
Keep: High School Yearbooks and Photos (and Friends!)
I am deeply, incredibly blessed by high school friendships that have stayed strong over many years. Hearing that I would be in the Twin Cities, last week Julie came from Chicago and Jeanie from Wisconsin, and we had a good old-fashioned sleepover. I truly never thought I would have one of those again! In the midst of our usual catching up and conversation about our lives now, we spent time perusing old yearbooks and trying to remember who dated whom and wondering what people are doing now.
Toss: Volleyball Most Improved Player Award
I think this was like the annual consolation prize for my high school volleyball team. Or else I did truly keep improving every year. Either way, I didn't feel the need to keep the plaque.
Keep: Asterix Comics
One of my most comforting childhood memories is eating lunch in my room in our village house during the hottest part of the day and reading Asterix (I am an introverted only child, after all). If you haven't read these comic books about a village of invincible and weird little characters holding out against occupation by ancient Rome, you have truly missed out--but it's not too late.
Keep: China Kids' Dishes
Aren't these too cute? It seems like they don't make stuff like this anymore. Somehow these dishes survived my childhood, but within the last few years I accidentally broke the matching pink Mikasa sheep plate.