As i mentioned earlier, my father is moving to Virginia. In fact, he's moving the second week in May. Part of getting ready for the move from a family house to a 2-bedroom apartment is having to get rid of a lot of stuff. My parents always teased that they were going to rent my room out to boarders but in fact it stayed pretty much the same as when i was living at home, so each time i came back to visit, it was like stepping back into my childhood. Now that room has to dissolve so that my father can move.
I first started getting rid of stuff at my house to make room for stuff i knew that i would be bringing back. With a great deal of angst, i threw away 4 wonderful 1/8 scale car models i had assembled as a teenager, including a 1965 Corvette and a 1965 Jaguar XKE. They had functioning steering, windows that rolled up and down, hoods that opened to reveal gleaming engines with tiny plastic tubing as spark plug wires, and so on. The years haven't been kind to the cars as they got shuttled from here to there, especially after i brought them to Virginia and dust settled on them and cats occasionally walked across them. But it still felt like i was throwing part of my childhood away.
Fast forward to this past weekend. Even though my room was quite neat, it still was full of papers (think high school term papers, old scrapbooks with yellowing newspaper articles about archaeology and the space program), books, several boxes of letters, and a few toys. I thought i could cull through the letters, keeping some and tossing others. The best i was able to do was toss old birthday cards and Christmas cards (after convincing myself that no, i probably really would never get around to repurposing them in a collage, even though that seemed like a great idea). Oh, and i was able to toss some letters from friends from 2nd grade who i got in touch with again in junior high and then fell out of touch with.
But letters from my mother, my sister, my French pen pal, my Polish pen pal...each of these had so many gems in them that i couldn't throw them away, and i finally realized that i would just keep them all and re-read them at my leisure at some distant future date.
I did get rid of a few toys. Here's an autograph dog that i think i got for my 12th birthday. Pretty much all of the signatures are faded, so out he went, after posing for one last picture.
I did keep my 3 autograph books from 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Fun to read friends and teachers telling me they expected great things from me in the future...i'm not sure if i've quite lived up to their or my expectations. I might be able to read these one more time and toss 'em.
Here's a good pal from childhood that i was going to keep for purely sentimental reasons (and maybe it would be worth something on eBay someday)...my first camera! -- a Kodak Brownie camera that my parents gave me for my 8th birthday and which i used consistently until my father bought me a great Minolta SLR as a college graduation present 14 years later. Unfortunately, something in it self-destructed and the camera is all corroded and the leather case crumbled to smithereens. I thought some of you young-uns out there might be interested to see what a camera, a flash gun, flashbulbs, and a box of film looked like back in the paleolithic!
Some things that i did bring back include my original teddy bear, Butterscotch. You might remember that i posted about my second teddy bear, Freeto Cheeps, who sort of was supposed to take Butterscotch's place. I guess Butterscotch fairly early on lost an eye and later got his nose squashed (by me...having a tantrum...) but i still love him and had to bring him back with me.
I also brought back my father's favorite toy from his childhood, a pull-toy horse. This little guy has mohair "fur" and is in surprisingly good condition considering he's probably 75 years old. He used to have a leather bridle, reins, and saddle but those dry rotted years ago. (Back then, i offered to make new ones, but my father wouldn't hear of it. Now at least he's grudgingly let me hold onto the horse.)