Whats a Keeper?

Bill and I made our decision to sell the house and move into a progressive senior complex quite suddenly. Something transpired that made it perfectly clear that it was time to sell this house that we love so much and move to someplace where there is no maintenance, lots of support, potential for a ton of friends, and a smaller abode with no stairs.

Because of the quick decision, I had very little time to anticipate what it was going to be like to clean out 30 years worth of life. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that there would be a lot of things that needed to be given to Goodwill. I was well aware that we had collected too much stuff over the years and that there would be a lot to pack up.

What I didn’t anticipate — and would have had I had more time to mentally prepare — was how painful it would be to get rid of certain things that in my heart of hearts I know shouldn’t make the cut. I’m not talking about the items about which I’ve been moaning for years that no one will want — my china, my furniture, my glassware, etc. I’m talking about little things that I have collected over my 30 years of marriage. Hell, over my 68 years of life. The little knick knacks I have purchased during my travels. The Christmas ornaments that Court made out of cotton balls and pipe cleaners when he was a kid. My wedding dress. How in the world does someone give up their wedding dress? The photo albums. Oh Lord, the photo albums.

I have argued in the past that while keeping digital photos takes up less room, they’re just as difficult to sort through unless you have a better photo management system than do I. But yesterday, as I made my way, piece by piece, through some of the stuff in our basement, I came across four or five photo albums. One of them held mostly photos of my early college years. I would label them in the back except that I mostly don’t remember the names of the girls with whom I shared a dorm floor. I could probably bear putting that album in the trash. It even has those little triangle-shaped picture holders that have glue on the back. However, one held some photos of my sibs and me as children. It also held photos of Court as a child. Another held photos of this house when we first moved in. There was a tree in the front yard that I barely remember. There were juniper bushes that Bill trimmed for twenty-some years before we realized juniper bushes SCREAMED 1972. Those I can’t give up. But where will they go?

Maybe tomorrow I’ll tackle my cedar chest. I know there are things in there that can go away. I could fill up the spaces with photo albums and my wedding dress. Then I just have to figure out how I fit a circa-1972 cedar chest into our 1200 square foot apartment.

This seems to be more difficult than I thought. At least I am more emotional than I thought.

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