Remembering where you’ve been in life is a toss-up. Sometimes it brings pleasant memories to the forefront of your mind, but recalling the past can also conjure up those moments you’d rather forget.
Being the Pollyanna that I am, I’d much rather focus on the memories that bring a smile to my face instead of those that make me wince, although I know there is always a lesson to be learned with the not-so-great memories.
As I’ve been cleaning, re-arranging, and purging throughout our country home, memories have surfaced time and again, giving me pause to stop my frenzied crackdown on all of this accumulated stuff and just simply remember.
Probably the reason we are inundated with too many belongings is because we’ve haven’t moved in the last 19 years, topping our record for the amount of time we’ve actually lived in one house (prior to that it was six years).
When Papa’s career caused us to be more mobile and relocate every few years, we eliminated the unnecessary more often because it was simpler than moving a boatload (or a truckload) of stuff around the country.
But now in addition to our own paraphernalia acquired by living in one place for this long, it seems we’ve become a storage unit for our grown children. And then there are those items from both sets of our parents that somehow found a new home with us after our folks passed away.
And it’s all cluttering up our basement, which I will descend upon once I get the rest of the house squared away.
I’m actually pretty good at tossing a lot of our non-essential stuff when I put my mind to it and during this latest bout of cleaning out, the donation and garage sale piles keep growing larger.
But those sentimental items that bring to mind such dear memories? Not so easy to part with.
Like the old printer’s type box (photo above) hanging on our wall and filled with tiny mementos from places we’ve visited or our children have ventured to over the last 40+ years.
When Papa and I were young newlyweds living the Army life in southwestern Oklahoma, we would travel to Dallas, Texas for weekend fun occasionally.
On one of those trips, we shopped at a unique place called Olla Podrida, a huge building not styled like a mall but filled with many eclectic shops featuring artisan’s works for sale – everything from pottery to paintings to stained glass to handcrafted jewelry to woodcraft to clocks and collectibles.
A place that doesn’t exist anymore in the real world but still lives on in my memories.
While there, we posed for one of those ‘old-time’ photographs and purchased several items including the printer’s type box – interesting to me because I worked at a daily newspaper at the time. We also bought a couple of old type letters and some miniature trinkets to place in the box.
And ever since, that box has hung on a wall in all of our homes. Today it is filled to the brim with mementos. I’m not quite ready to part with it yet, but we must stop buying those little curios to place in the box because there is no more room.
So for now, it stays on the wall. But I am making lots of other changes. While cleaning out closets, I came across some items special to me and I decided they shouldn’t be hiding out beneath our summer clothes, but displayed somewhere in sight.
So the bedroom that used to be our son’s is now the family heirloom room centered around the 1940’s bedroom suite that belonged to my parents. My grandmother’s 1920’s era clock sits on the armoire. Old family photos decorate the room along with a little porcelain shoe that doubles as a pincushion which belonged to my Great Aunt Flora who gave it to me when I was a young teenager.
Junk to some, but treasures to me.
My cleaning out days have yielded much. Much to discard. But much to delight in and in a way, it’s like a new beginning. Rearranging some of the rooms in our house, changing decorations, discarding some old items but replacing them with older vintage things, many which are family ‘treasures.’
It’s all new and just the change I needed to make.
New year. Old stuff. But new look. I think I like it.
“Old things are better than new things, because they’ve got stories in them.” ~ Kami Garcia, Beautiful Creatures