Saturday, February 2, 2008

Sentimental Value

For the past 3 weeks or so, my mom had the storage area in our house turned into a spanking new kitchen. As a result, all the stuff that was stored in that area had to be taken out.
All the things that we've collected over the past 27 years that we were living in that house, all the items that we labeled as "keepsakes" and not "junk", all the objects that we judged worthy of occupying space on our shelves and not for giving or throwing away, were all lined up to undergo a re-trial: yes, they survived the first, second, third, even fourth general cleaning sessions, but will they survive this one?
All sorts of things were on parade--3 dozen mugs; a Popeye tumbler, McDonald's plates; a Hello Kitty tray; a Humpty Dumpty Fisher Price pull-along toy; a Moulinex blender given as a gift that was still in its wrapping and still had the tag on; 8 tea sets; 3 French presses; thousands of Tupperware and other plastic containers; hundreds of Mills & Boon books; innumerable shoes and clothing; et cetera.
All sorts of things, all of which we didn't even remember we had. But at one point in our lives, we just couldn't bear to part with them, we just couldn't bear to let them go, we just couldn't bear to put them into the trash bin, or let someone else make good use of them.
We'd die first before we let go of that
My Melody Spoon & Fork set circa 1979.
For some, these "keepsakes" may translate to a fortune on ebay. Others may see them as signs of an underlying psychiatric disorder.
But for many, these things are souvenirs of precious memories, of a time when life was simple and the only thing complicated was trying to wake up before the school bus arrives.
Memories which we are not ready to let go of just yet.

I know I'll always have my memories. But I won't always have
my Pacman water game circa 1981. So while there's space on my shelf and no harm is being done, I'd still like to keep it. And the memories that go with it: the puddles on the wooden floor, the 2-player game rules my brother and I set up even if the game is for one person only, the constant reminders from my mom to clean up the mess we made, and my dad quietly shaking his head in the background. Indeed, those were the days.

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