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April 7, 2009

My apartment looks like a bomb went off in a toy store.

Last week, my mother and my stepfather had the bright idea to clean the attic. And by that I don’t mean they went on a spiritual retreat or got their heads shrunk by the Good Doctor Greene; no, they actually pulled everything out of their attic to sort through.

I’m sorry, but isn’t the attic a place where you can put boxes of junk you never want to see again? So when you die, your kids can try to separate the gems from the spider webs and rat feces?

Apparently not. They’ve been on a renovation kick for the last 18 months: re-flooring the entire house, painting the walls, landscaping the yard, and now digging my childhood treasures from the depths of the attic.

So my Mom shows up at my apartment this weekend with twelve boxes of crap. TWELVE BOXES. I live in a two-bedroom apartment, wherein one room is reserved for sleeping and the other is my office. Our two closets are packed to the gills with junk I can’t bear to give away, and the rest of the apartment is filled with essential stuff. You know, like furniture.

Nevertheless, I’m as sentimental as they come, never one to get rid of something that might bring tears to my eyes later. So I accept the boxes and stuff them all in my office so I can go through them at leisure.

All weekend, I sift through the boxes, cooing over every find like an expectant mother at Babies ‘R’ Us. My husband watches from a distance, his face disapproving, because he doesn’t keep anything and thinks my pack-rat mentality is one step away from psychotic.

And I’m like, “Honey? Do you see this? It’s my SESAME STREET LUNCHBOX. With a THERMOS!”

My baby blankets, the handmade toys my grandfather built, tiny glass figurines in the shape of cartoon characters, a set of Beatrix Potter collectibles, the stuffed animals I named after everybody in the cast of “Little House on the Prairie”.

It was like some sort of weird retro Christmas, and I’m sad to say I’m keeping every single box. However, I did manage to condense because some of that stuff is going on shelves so I can look at it every day and say, “THAT was my childhood.”

The most interesting find, however, was a thick plastic folder full of short stories I wrote on my mother’s typewriter as a kid. They have no literary value at all, but the stories bring back memories of sore fingers and a desperate need to get them down before they evaporated from my mind.

Thanks, Mom, for the memories.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 7, 2009 9:42 am

    You’re lucky. My mother threw away everything that wasn’t nailed down. All my high school yearbooks, an original seri-cel from Disney’s “The Aristocats” that one of my sisters (psycho sister, actually) picked up for $5 before anyone thought of selling them as collectibles and now go for upwards of $1500…Everything’s gone.

    It sounds like you have some really good stuff, would love to see the Beatrix Potter stuff. I bet that lunch box is collectible, too. God, we had cool stuff when we were kids. 🙂 Those little glass cartoon characters, I don’t think you can get those anymore. Now everything is resin (i.e., a lump of plastic).

  2. Sam Tamlyn permalink*
    April 7, 2009 11:28 am

    My husbands parents’ did that too, including his baseball card collection (also worth lots of money). That really sucks!

    My mother kept my psycho sister’s stuff because she just throws everything away.

    Everything “back then” was better made, I’ve discovered, though I’m sure many of the toys I got back would now be considered unsafe for kids. I’ll take a picture of the Beatrix Potter figurines as soon as I can figure out why my scanner won’t work. Or I guess I could finally read the manual on my digital camera and figure out how to upload pictures to my computer…

  3. April 7, 2009 11:52 am

    My scanner software is incompatible with the version of Windows I run at home (XP), so I haven’t been able to use my scanner for years. They want $60 to upgrade the software… I’m thinking I’ll upgrade to a better scanner for that kind of money!

    My digital camera has made things much simpler. It’s really easy, I’m sure you won’t have any trouble with it (she said without knowing anything about the camera 😉 )

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