I have been off the grid for the last month as my husband and I sold our house and downsized to a two bedroom apartment. I never knew how much I had accumulated until I had to decide whether or not to save, toss or give “it” away. I donated probably 25 boxes of books to our local Literacy Advocacy center, making numerous trips on Thursday afternoons. I gave away more books, dishes, artwork and various other household items by leaving them on my front lawn. Needless to say, I kept about 25 boxes of books too. Some are just to meaningful to give away.
One of my recent blogs focused on diaries.I mentioned that I have kept diaries since high school.I have over 100 of them which I kept in a large rattan chest in my bedroom.
The chest had pretty much fallen apart which left me with the issue of what to do with all these journals.
At no time did I seriously consider discarding them so the next best things was to purchase a lot of plastic pins where I have them stored.
I am not a saver by nature, although I am sentimental about certain people in my life. I have every card and letter my husband wrote to me. I kept all the letters my oldest brother wrote to me from college in the sixties, talking about Richard Nixon and Charles Manson. I could never part with letters my best friend sent to me from camp when were were kids. I reread them often and marvel at how much I treasure them, even when she asked me to send her gum and Tiger Beat magazine. I kept my eighth grade graduation autograph book.
I promised myself I would reread all of my journals; even the high school ones full of bad poetry about people I no longer remember. I found that what is most important to me are the items directly connected to my personal history, like the issue of Time Magazine depicting the body of Aldo Moro’s body in the trunk of a car courtesy of the Red Brigade. It was 1978 and I was a student in Paris when he was kidnapped. It was all the talk in Europe and I truly understood the power and evil of terrorism, especially as it reigned in Europe.
We all carry our history with us, both a personal one and public persona. I found I needed to preserve what meant the most to me: letters, journals, photographs and the books which marked passages in my own life. It’s been enlightening and sobering and although I downsized, the sentiments which truly matter to me remain in bins and boxes, reflecting my life.
What travels with you, no matter where you go?