My life, revisited

In the spirit of the new year, I am shedding some of my possessions. Oh kind internets, would you please weigh in on whether or not I should keep the following items?

1. Trophies, etc. I have earned three trophies in my lifetime. Good thing I was never very good at anything; it makes the problem smaller. I also have a couple of framed awards and a diploma or two. I am, however, missing my high school diploma. I thought it was in a chest at my parents’ house, but when I opened up the fancy cover, it was empty! Good thing nobody has ever asked for it. Will anybody ever ask for the other ones?

2. High school memorabilia. A few years ago I threw away a ton of pictures and things from homecoming dances and crap like that. But still I drag around several heavy yearbooks. Should I throw them out? Should I scan my hideous teenage visage for posterity and then discard the books? Should I keep them in case anybody in my high school becomes famous? (As far as I know, the only classmate who has become (in)famous was a guy from grammar school charged with murder.)

2a. I also was recently gifted with my mother’s high school yearbook. Should I keep it? Do I need it?

3. Grade reports and the like. Does anybody really need to find out that I didn’t get AP credit for U.S. history because I did so poorly on the exam? Or that I failed physics? And do I need any of my old research papers? If so, for what? In addition, I have back-up copies of at least three people’s dissertations. Can I pitch them now?

4. Letters from ex’s. Or exes. Or has-been losers, or whatever you want to call them. Unfortunately none of them has ever left anything of value for me to contemplate pitching. They were more likely to abscond with things, like the one who took my pickle jar full of quarters. A friend and I did find out many years after the fact that we had an ex in common. We didn’t know each other at the time. I recently threw out those letters.

5. Pictures of ex’s. Mine or anybody elses. I have one particularly nice photograph of myself which cannot be cropped because it is too obvious that there is another person in close proximity. I don’t think even photoshop can save this one. And I photographed a number of friends’ and family members’ weddings only to have them divorce. Plus I have a big album of prints from one ex-friend’s wedding. I’m thinking about poking all the eyeballs out and mailing the pictures to her. Should I?

6. Pictures. I have pictures. I have more pictures than anybody I know. I’m thinking I should throw out all the pictures of the Grand Canyon. Whatever possessed me to shoot two rolls of film there? But what about other vacation pictures? Do I really need scenic photographs of locations I can’t remember? And what about pictures of people whose names I can’t recall? Or the four thousand baby pictures one of my siblings sent of his kid? What about the really bad pictures of me from adolescence? Or my grammar-school graduation picture, which I greatly disliked. I pushed my grandmother’s copy so that it fell behind her dresser. She actually missed it and called the person who took the picture to ask for another. I wonder if they ever found the first one.

In addition to the seventy or so pictures of the Grand Canyon, I have pictures documenting a garden I no longer have, four or five years in my life that I’d rather forget, my cousin’s cheating girlfriend, and six or seven mystery pictures of young women that were hidden behind a photograph of my grandmother’s older sister. There is one huge box of photos from Asia, one big box from Europe. I also have a giant blow-up of a photograph I took at Dover Castle.

7. Wheatie pennies. Silver dollars. Silver half-dollars. Silver certificates. Mercury dimes. Susan B. Anthony dollars. Coins from various other countries. Bus tokens. What am I saving them for? What good will they ever be?

8. Fancy teacups given to me as a gift. Maybe I should regift.

9. Cassette tapes. I did actually get rid of all my 8-track tapes because a friend bought a vintage Cadillac with an 8-track player. But what about cassettes? The only ones I’ve gotten rid of were the language ones. I fear also that I will want to get rid of my CDs soon. And what do I do with (shudder) albums? (I can see all the young people who read this blog are scratching their heads in wonder.)

10. Ice cube trays. Don’t hardly ever use them. Why do I have five or six of them? It’s a mystery.

11. Books, books, books, books.

On the other hand, I own less of certain things than anybody I know. I own relatively few items of clothes. I own four pairs of shoes and two pairs of jeans. I’d actually like to own more than one pair of glasses, but alas, I can never seem to find ones I like. And I have less furniture than most people and plan to keep it that way.

I think I like to think that I could pack up and move at a moment’s notice. But I don’t think my life is like that any more. I have a friend who drops in every five years or so who is always moving around the world. He shows up with just a backpack. I would like to think I could do that, but my emotional backpack is just too big. Plus all my ice cube trays wouldn’t fit.

13 thoughts on “My life, revisited

  1. OK. here’s my go at it:

    As for memorabilia, the rule in my house is that it all has to fit in one copier paper box

    Save the yearbooks. They are time capsules. Little Resistance will continue to get a kick out of them for years to come. We used to break out my parents’ yearbooks every once in a while for a good laugh.

    Ditch the grade reports, term papers, and dissertations. Cripes, if I found out any of my friends still had backup copies of mine, I’d think they were nuts.

    Kiss the letters goodbye. Save pictures if you can remember the names of the people in them. Unless you hate their guts.

    Save the coins and silver certificates. We inherited a collection from a grandparent. It appraised at a nice sum.

    Cassette tapes – feh. If they’re old they’re likely to snap soon anyway. Now albums are a different story. Those stand the test of time.

    Ditch the plastic ice cube trays unless they have # 2, 4 or 5

    Books…well, I need a 12 step meeting for those, so don’t ask me…

  2. Sound advice from Psychobabbler. I will ditch my cassettes.

    Everyone in our house has a memory box – one of those Ikea storage boxes – if it don’t go in, it goes out!

    I wish I had yearbooks. We don’t have those in Europe, and it’s such a shame. I tend to keep photos of people, and I also no longer take more than one or two photos of places, and I try to have people in them. My dad gave me a bunch of slides of pre-development Dubai and was miffed when I ditched them – shoulda kept them himself if they were that important.

    I already agonised over ice cube trays. I now have three. I use one for making cubes of ground meat that I then put in a ziploc for adding to noodle soups. I also use one for making cubes of tomato paste, since I never use a whole can in one go.

    I’m also in Bookhoarders Anonymous.

  3. Hoarders Hoarders!

    R, if you are having real problem “organizing” your life, I should come by to help. By the time I am done with you, you luckily will have no more than two boxes of crap. That’s how little I own. I have mentally selected a few pieces of furniture we now own which will go with me either to my place of birth or to a nursing home here.

    I came to the U.S with one suitcase, $2000 and one dictionary. No plan to take more with me when my time is up :-)

    A special someone keeps asking me why “I” need to be in photos every single time. His idea is that scenery is more interesting than people’s faces. He’s so wrong on that one.

  4. Funny, yearbooks are the items I’m most inclined to pitch.

    One box, eh? I don’t think I can do that. I hate to tell you how many letters I have, but to give you a hint I’ll just say that I have every letter anybody has ever written to me.

    Hey overseaschinese, didn’t you say you couldn’t throw away or regift presents? So how have you managed to keep your crap level down? And why don’t you come over sometime? I wouldn’t even make you clean. ;-D

    I gave away a whole bunch of books but still have more. I dredged out a closet today and found six copy paper boxes of books stashed in the back. *sigh*

  5. Not many people like me enough to give me presents :-)

    I am cheap. I don’t buy a lot of things.

    I am boring too. Boring people’s needs are pretty basic.

  6. I always tell my daughter when she’s pleading to buy another toy that I never had any toys, except a handful of “educational” ones like a chemistry set or a sky chart and telescope. I also never owned casettes or albums. Which is why friends are important. To share their toys, casettes of albums with you. Boyfriends in my case.

    R, good thing email was invented or there’d be no space in your house.

    overseas, I’d like to whittle my possessions down to two boxes as well. Actually, if my husband and I were to divorce, I could get rid of all my winter things and that would probably leave me with enough for two boxes to take with me somewhere warm.

  7. Have you tried freecycle? You’d be amazed the stuff people will take – stuff that doesn’t work even. I got rid of some very naff white plastic towel rails. There are worse hoarders than us out there…

  8. I don’t think freecycle would take my yearbooks. ;-D But who knows?

    Over the weekend I gave away some language dictionaries. It was a funny coincidence. Some time back I was at a cultural center and saw this guy taking a class. Then later I saw him at the temple several times. So now my boxes of books are lighter. Hey, it’s a start.

  9. Have you tried Book-off? A Japanese book store chain where they buy used books, CD, DVD, even magazines. Last time I was there, the clerk asked me if I had anything to sell.

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