Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tripping down Memory Lane

This weekend, I stopped by my father's house to help clean out some of the things I left behind when I moved out a few years ago. Since then, I got married and while our little house is wonderful, it just does not have storage space. At all. Like, zilch. My intent was not to leave things at my father's house, but with hardly any room for daily goods, I took what I needed and left what I didn't. After a few years of empty-nesting it, my father decided that he didn't want to build a shrine to his youngest daughter (come on, dad! don't you love me anymore?) so after storing my {ahem} stuff in his house, he ever so kindly asked me to remove it from the premises so that he could actually use the space. Ugh.

Lucky for me, dad became impatient and basically threw whatever was in my old bedroom in boxes for me to sort through, making my job of sorting ever so much easier. Honestly, though - rediscovering bits and pieces of my past as I sifted through box after box was really....weird...but kind of a fun weird. Like, going through someone else's things. With the exception of a few items that were, in fact, someone else's things - my sister's - they were all mine and I couldn't believe it:

The '80s Childhood

  • My Girl Scout uniform and badges
  • Scholastic News from grade school. News of the day included the Challenger explosion and Berlin Wall tumbling down
  • Letters from my pen pals circa late '80s/early '90s: Crystal from Thorndale, TX and Jackie from Dublin, Ireland
  • All my NKOTB memorabilia, like posters, buttons, dolls, trading cards, comic books, magazines...I think I paid for their retirement
  • A local newspaper from '91 announcing that the U.S. entered the Persian Gulf War and remembering my sister's then-boyfriend going off to war
  • Statue of Liberty commemorative pencils from 1986
  • My hot pink and purple Caboodles with a scattering of scrunchies, headbands, makeup, movie ticket stubs, phone numbers
  • Lisa Frank stickers

The High School Years

  • Prayer cards, postcards, thank you's, birthday and Christmas cards from family and friends...some still in my life, some not
  • Triangle-folded notes passed in high school classes, including one from my German-exchange student
  • A newspaper clipping from '95 with a photo of the high school senior I had a crush on winning a basketball game
  • A collage meant to have been in my senior year high school yearbook with photos of friends who transferred schools years before
  • Mixed tapes of dance music I probably would still listen to, had I a cassette player anymore
  • Likewise for the broken Walkman

College and Beyond

  • Swizzle sticks from when I finally turned 21
  • Canceled rent checks from senior year in college
  • The approval letter declaring I would graduate cum laude after completing original research for my honors thesis in psychology with an "A"
  • Dried bouquets from all the weddings I had been in
  • Early copies of my post-college résumé
  • Recruiter cards, from places I had no interest in then but now find are my clients
  • Directions to my former boss's house for her annual Christmas party
  • A list of stolen CDs, created from memory (yes, I'm that neurotic about my music), after someone broke into my car...including "Take Your Time" by Love Bite

This list may not seem extraordinary to you. To me, it's a small sampling of over 20 years of my life. During my sorting, I had no emotional attachment to most of the junk in those boxes and just tossed away. Then I came across this stuff and was instantly transported back to those days when Little Chrissy was just trying to make her way through the small world that surrounded her. I was reminded of all the embarrassing moments and occasionally, the sunnier times when, for the briefest of moments, I felt invincible. I'm happy to say my world has opened up much more since then, but I am a bit sad that I don't really relate to my younger self anymore. I guess that's life.

Why did I hold on to this junk for all these years? I guess I felt like there was some significance there. Am I the only one my age who is now just letting go of her past?

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