Six weeks ago I started my summer project, working on the 12 bins of memorabilia and 17 scrapbooks that are purposely cluttering my living room in Pine Level so I will deal with them. I am pleased to report I am down to about half that – five piles of stuff, one for each decade, including one big pre-1980s pile.
Now comes the next layer – giving myself permission to photograph, scan and dump. I want to do this quickly; otherwise, I’ll be swallowed up in a self-made tomb to dead people. Two thoughts, about history and time, will put this in perspective:
First, history. The Inquisition, which lasted 600 years, and in which people were burned at the stake for heresy, is significant. My dad’s (or mom’s) high school yearbooks are not. (Although I will contact the museums/libraries in their hometowns to see if I can donate them – I know the RELIC center in Manassas is accepting yearbook donations, and has volunteers scanning them for archives.)
What I do want to save is the photo of my dad, Roy, as a young man in Nyssa, Oregon, before he went off to fight in World War II, and the photo of him with his flight crew.
Second, time. My life is meant to be lived and experienced, and I have things to write about. I have a lunch date with one writer scheduled, and the critique group in Goldsboro is giving me feedback on Chapters 3 and 4 of my book. If I set that aside to sit in a shut-up house among piles of things, that’s not living. When my friend Kathy visited she told me, she doesn’t have any scrapbooks, not even for her wedding. Instead she has a whole family of wonderful experiences that keep happening, like the day trip she and I took to St. Andrews in Laurinburg, and the time we shared.
So today I am giving myself permission to stop – stop hoarding, stop being the family caretaker of stuff. I’ll give the final result of my summer project the fourth week of September, when autumn begins.
My question for you is, if a natural disaster or eviction threatened the place you call home, and you had to get up and leave right now, what could you carry with you? What would you choose?