Monday, October 8, 2007

The hardest part is getting started

So, I was at Mom and Dad's, where I'm usually not allowed to lift so much as a finger. Mom's funny that way. Strange, I know.

This time, I was given a job, though. Mom is getting ready to move houses. She and Dad are going to move into the little house, two miles south, and my brother and his family are going to move into the big house on the active farmyard. This process will likely take several years.

There is 25 years of accumulated junk in a really big house - so much clutter that in some of the rooms, there is only a path through all the stuff. My job was to go through my old bedroom closet. So, yesterday morning, after breakfast, I told Mom to start the burning barrel, and I started hauling stuff out of the closet.

This stuff was old - I moved away from home two months after I graduated from high school, 17 years ago. The list of things I insisted be destroyed includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Various plaques for awards received at my high school commencement.
  • The Indiana Jones hat I received for Christmas one year.
  • 4-H project books and award ribbons.
  • Streamers kept from my wedding in 1993 (we separated in 2001, divorced in 2004).
  • The blue and white peasant skirt I bought in Vancouver in 1987. I wore it to death, with grey and red wool socks and black shoes. I didn't shave my legs, either. Quite the hippie.
  • An Anglican church song sheet from approximately 1956, with my aunt's name written in the upper right hand corner.
  • Sundry binders and notes from high school, the most notable one being the purple English / history binder with "Give Peace a Chance" marked on it in white-out.

My mother and brother were shocked, and tried to save much of this stuff. I grabbed the poker from my mom's hand and made sure stuff was burning, so no one could pull it out. In fact, my brother and I were having a tug of war over a t-shirt - he wanted to turn it into a shop rag. Since I was pulling with all my might, and he was standing there holding onto it with one hand and laughing at me, I guess he won (have I mentioned that at nearly six-feet tall, I'm the little one in my family? Babies and sisters-in-law not included).

Despite the shouting and the conflict, it was loads of fun. I didn't keep anything that wasn't beautiful, useful or loved. I will admit, much of it only fell into the loved category. Such as:
  • My wedding dress, veil and shoes. The marriage may be over, but I felt like a fairy princess that day. It was gorgeous. There are two little girls who may want to play dress-up some day.
  • The cards received with my shower and wedding gifts. I am very sentimental (don't tell anybody, though).
  • My prom dress. I made it myself (naturally).
  • Various letters, postcards and photos from the year I spent abroad.
  • My very first sewing project (a purple tote bag).
  • My very first sweater project (blue mohair intarsia. Yikes!).
  • The dolly my Grandma gave me. Again, two little girls may play with it.
  • All my books - Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Judy Blume, and probably much, much more.

After I left, to have coffee with a long absent and dearly loved high-school girlfriend (talk about walking down memory lane this weekend!), Mom kept going and burned three bags of stuff from the garage unopened. I am so proud.

When I finish this post, I'm putting on some grubby clothes and heading down to the basement. It's too bad I can't have a burning barrel in the city. The question is, what do I do with all the acrylic I bought when I didn't have much money, and didn't know any better?

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