The post "Holding on to Sentimental Things" on Small Notebook inspired me. I had two large storage tubs of wedding, college, and high school memorabilia, plus an extra box just for kicks.
The above post shares a scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the grandmother brings out her box of treasured memories. Not quite the same sentiment, Rachel points out, if the grandmother had instead opened up her storage facility, crammed floor to ceiling with the detritus of her life.
"When it comes to keeping sentimental things:
the fewer things you keep, the more special they are."
It's complicated to explain, but basically our living space over the span of our marriage has gone from livable, to unlivable, to livable, to unlivable again, generally based on the amount of inventory we have going through because of our business.
It is currently in the throes of unlivable, the living room/dining room area overrun with large boxes of DVDs that that poor UPS guy drops off day after day. The second bedroom, which we we had hoped to prepare as a, gee, second bedroom, is stuffed.
We have a birth coming up this month (deep breath, deep breath), and our bedroom, which I hope will be our peaceful birthing space, and our downstairs, which I hope will roomily enough contain our midwives and my sister-in-law and Mikko as they wait, are nowhere near an acceptable state for the birth.
We threw around some ideas: Do we open a storage unit for the business boxes? But Sam would then have to travel there daily to carry boxes to and fro and pack up what we need to send out. Do we rent an office space where he could do the same in more comfort? But more comfort means more expense, and that's not the best choice as we enter a period of not working as much for the summer. Do we rent storage for our actual storage, so the business boxes can move into that space instead?
Or — well — do we add paring our storage down, majorly, to our list of pre-baby tasks? And most of the storage — sigh — is mine.
I am trying. I hate it. But I am trying.
I'm keeping in mind the shoebox. Sam even found one for me, and handed it over. I'm allowed, max, one shoebox per event: high school, college, wedding. I have in mind a time when Mikko will sit with me and go through it — or maybe, sit without me and go through it. I want everything that remains to be something interesting, preferably self-explanatory, and possibly symbolic for something larger. I don't need to save every college paper — maybe just one that sums up those days for me.
Here's what I've learned going through my college box:
I lived through the dark days of email and the internet. Friends were pleasantly surprised for me when setting up my school email account took less than a week (woot!). Other friends had their emails cut off because the phone line went down (or a roommate picked up the extension and cut the connection), or couldn't get on email for several days because the dial-up was continually busy. Ah…
On the bright side, back then email forwards were fresh.
My ex-boyfriend was an ass.* He kept emailing me about farts. What was that about? Also, I didn't really need to relive the part where we decided to date other people while I was at college (this was
*To be fair, I'm cringing from who I was back then as well.
Not joking about the dark ages of email. Here are my instructions for how to download my email:
Log on to DAVE with Kermit. From the ----.edu> prompt type "CD Mail." Type "LS" to view available Mail folders. Type "Kermit." From the C-Kermit7 prompt, type "server." Oh, my gosh, I'm too bored to keep typing it. It's a page long.
I wonder if my roommate still makes little circles for the dots on her Is.
It's funny how I can read compliments on my schoolwork and remember all the reasons I didn't deserve them. Like how the junior high teacher observing my practicum in her classroom said that my comfort level with big groups would grow with experience and the students responded well to me — I can remember how painfully awkward I felt in her classroom and how I was sure I would make a terrible teacher. So sure, in fact, that I dropped out of the education certification track after that. (I hadn't really wanted to be in it, anyway, just was hedging my job-search bets since I was an English major.) Or how my college algebra teacher said I could manage a higher level of math easily — oh, I knew that. That's why I'd taken college algebra. So I could read magazines during class while fulfilling my gen-ed credit. My final project, which earned an A, was completed after the library closed and I'd had to search my room for a suitable set of data from which to make a graph; I found a list of Pulitzer Prize winners by year in the back of one of my English books and was set.
My mom used to send me envelopes stuffed full of Dave Barry columns and Dilbert cartoons.
My little brother (9 years old when I left for college) was hilarious.
Good thing I saved that Mr. Magoo ticket stub. Would hate to have forgotten that film.
You know what ruined my perfect 4.0 GPA the second semester of my junior year? Was it sociology, twentieth century German literature, environmental science, or Christian thought (a theology class)? Oh, no. It was tennis. Stinking tennis.
I'm shocked — shocked — that I didn't realize earlier that the guy I thought was "just a good friend" liked me, until he pressed his attentions more fully upon me and I had to shut him down — twice. He apparently sent me, like, a letter per week (actually — wait for it — an X-Men Valentine's card) to my college post office box (with lines like "Is it weird my tongue has touched this?" and — hello! — "I've come to realize I am drawn to you."). How did I not put the clues together? I must really have a skewed sense of my own attractions. I am a man* magnet, my friends. A clueless one.
*Yes, man, singular.
I used to work at Sears. One week, I worked 37.3 hours, and my take home pay was $157.74. That's a net of a little over $4 an hour.
This is one of the reasons I was always surprised when someone over 25 was still working retail. The other reason was how very much I hated working retail.
Bill Clinton sent a signed photo to Sam when he graduated. I'm going to assume it was his dad who instigated such a thing. This honor would be complete if the photo included the message "To a great fan."
Remember floppy disks? I do. I remember them back when they were even floppy and was very confused that the stiff ones were so named as well.
I don't suppose I have anything that can read floppy disks anymore. Goodbye, then.
I was forever losing writing contests. Good thing I didn't take it to heart. (Right? Is it?)
Wes Craven went to my college and wrote for the literary journal. I found his stories and poems when I was the editor and went through the old archives.
Seeing my German essays marked up beyond belief is horrifying. I think that's what stops me from speaking German to people. I see red pen descending on every sentence I utter, telling me I used the wrong article and wrong verb choice and that I have no idea what the word I chose really means. Is there a way to get red-pen fears out of your mind? Or to aim for a 70% accuracy instead of a perfect score?
On a sociology paper, I received this comment from my professor: "Glad to see use of the internet." I had to think about that to figure out if it was sarcastic. No, as I said, this was back in the old days — apparently, I was, like, a pioneer to consult the internet for a resource.
That same professor wrote on a different paper: "This is a superb paper. I would like to visit further with you. Can we get together?" Only because I remember what a sweetheart he was do I not find this creepy. (For instance, he was an older man who had had various heart problems and eventually a heart transplant, and he was always glowing with thankfulness for the donor.) I can't at all remember if we did "get together."
Ah. Well, if my athletic prowess weren't problem enough, here are the notes I wrote while crafting my tennis paper: "Yeah, right, like you're gonna work on this while you're watching your movie. Wise up."
Maybe that explains the B+ for the semester.
Another professor used to write "dizzy" in the margins of my papers. "Dizzy"? Was it my rapid-fire intellect?
Good thing I saved the student phone directory from 1995. Never know when it might next come in handy.
I used to write a weekly humor column for the student newspaper about the traffic stops known as bollards. It was pretty surreal, but I like to think it was the highlight of the newspaper for many. (I definitely like to think this.) It was popular enough that people would mail in pictures to us of bollards in places around the world. How did I achieve this illustrious staff position? Did I mention my boyfriend* was the editor?
*That would be Sam. Aw.
Mikko's really cute when he sings "Skip to My Lou." That's not from a box. That's from the real-life return of my boys. Guess my sorting time is over for now.
I have three piles: one trash (recycling) pile, one for sure to keep, and one to go through one last time and choose among. The trash pile is at least 90% of the box. The for-sure-to-keep pile is one thing. One.
Too bad it's only one box, and only one year of college, but still – a good start.
What life lessons have you learned going through your garbage?