12 October 2010

Cleaning my personal midden heap

Somewhere a future historian weeps.

I'm getting ready to move, and as I go through my possessions, culling what I no longer need, wear or want, I've been digging through several boxes that I've carted from place to place but haven't opened for years. Going through the cards, letters and journals in these boxes is like an archeological dig into my life. Suddenly I remember:
  • Not believing the super-skinny girl from college who said her guilty-pleasure food was fresh kiwi (mine was a chocolate milkshake and onion rings)
  • Going out with one guy and running into another one that I was also dating (who knew they were friends)
  • Having to tell a friend I couldn't spend a month backpacking with her because I'd gotten a job (I should've gone backpacking).
I've found notes from friends whose addresses have long since been lost, letters from boyfriends past, and cards and photos from over the years that show how kids have grown, people have moved, lives have changed.

And much of it went into the trash.

I even tossed all my journals, but not before leafing through them and realizing what a maudlin, self-absorbed idiot I could be at times.

It's not that I don't value these sentiments or memories, but I find that paper, often saved haphazardly, doesn't mean much to me (heresy for a trained historian like myself). I'm more interested in finding these friends and seeing how they are now. 

What did I keep? Generally first and last letters, notes that completely captured the sender's personality and anything unique, such as the Christmas card from a guy and his cat decorated with kitty-litter snow.

Now that's something a future historian can use for his dissertation topic. I'm sure of it.

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