Memory Lane

My mom has been remodeling her house, and during this endeavor she has had to clear out closets that hadn’t been cleared out since I got married and moved away from home 13 years ago.  Rather than put everything back inside for another 13 years, Mom decided it was high time I took ownership of some of my own memorabilia that had been cluttering her closets.  So on her last visit, she brought three such boxes and plunked them down in my foyer.  Where they sat for several weeks.

Have I mentioned my unfortunate procrastination habit?

Finally my husband drug the boxes out to the garage, where they resided for several months.  Until last Thursday night, when he decided it was high time to clean out the garage, at which point he unceremoniously ditched the boxes in the middle of the family room floor as I was watching the American Idol results show.


Guess who was finally forced to reckon with those boxes?

Now I’d be lying to you if I told you that it never occurred to me to set the boxes out by the curb and let the trash man take them, without ever looking at the contents.  But the one sentimental bone that I have in my body (there is only one, and it doesn’t bother me very often) cried out in protest, so I decided to take care of that chore right then and there, with Ryan Seacrest and the whole Idol gang in attendance.

Well, if THAT wasn’t a trip down memory lane. 

First I opened the box with my high school and college year books.  I cracked open a few, curious to see what words of wisdom were hiding inside those pages.  When I have more time I will fill you in on some of the gems contained inside.

The yearbooks went in the Keep pile, and the rest of the contents of the box (college text books, mostly) went straight to the Trash box.  Also inside the box was a journal that I kept in 1992.  I called it "My Collection of Things I Love About Life", and I got quite a chuckle reading that — more blog fodder for another time.

The second box held cards and photos from my high school graduation.  I didn’t bother to read the cards, but I did page through the photo album.  Most of the pictures included a certain young man who I was dating at the time.  I guess that’s why that album remained at my mom’s while the rest of my photo albums came with me to Pennsylvania when I got married. 

At the bottom of the box, I came across a treasure that had been long forgotten — the most awesome sweatshirt I ever owned.  You know how it is when you get the perfect one — soft and thick and stretched out until it hangs to your hips without really touching any body part.  I loved that sweatshirt.  But on the sweatshirt are the letters USMA.  Anyone wanna take a gander at who attended the United States Military Academy?

You got it — the certain young man in the high school graduation photos.  I wore that sweatshirt from the time he gave it to me during our freshman year in college until the time I met my husband.  I broke up with the certain young man at the beginning of my sophomore year, but that didn’t stop me from wearing the favored sweatshirt.  The only thing that stopped me from wearing it was meeting the man of my dreams, who didn’t particularly care for me wearing my ex-boyfriend’s clothes.  Go figure.

When I discovered the USMA sweatshirt in the bottom of that box, I felt like I had been reunited with a long lost friend.  I pulled it out and put it on, and sure enough, it was as perfect as I remembered.  I took it off and laid it aside, thinking that surely after fifteen years it wouldn’t matter if I reclaimed ownership of the ex-boyfriend’s sweatshirt.

The next box was full of wedding memories.  I rifled through my wedding planner and a few old Brides magazines and a box full of cards and set them in the Keep pile.  I threw out about 25 boxes of fossils photograph negatives from the disposable cameras we provided at our wedding reception.  And then I came across a journal that had been a present at one of my bridal showers. 

In it, everyone present at the shower had written a message for me as I was about to embark on the great adventure called marriage.  Most of the entries were wise and helpful tidbits of advice, such as "Don’t fail to put God and His plan for your life first always," from my dear Great Aunt Ardith and, "When you’re angry, think before reacting.  Most of the time it’s not worth arguing over" — a lesson I’m still trying to learn.

And then there was this gem from my aunt’s sister, "It’s not too late to change your mind."

Mmm’kay.  Thanks. I think.

Oh.  Oh.  And I love this one.  From my Aunt Carol, "The best advice I can give is to communicate.  And laugh.  Laugh a lot, laugh at yourself.  And if all else fails, take the credit cards and shop!!"

Now there’s some advice I don’t mind following.  Needless to say that little treasure went in the Keep file.

After I got everything separated into piles, my husband wandered through the room to see how things were coming along.  He immediately spotted the USMA sweatshirt.

"What’s this?" he remarked.

Me: "An old sweatshirt I found in the boxes."

Him: "And what are you planning to do with it?"

Me: "Mmm.  Maybe wear it?  It’s a great sweatshirt."

Him: "Uh.  I don’t think so."

So that was the end of that.

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Be sure to check out my swimsuit review on Chic Critique, and I have a giveaway this week at Reviewsings.  It’s a fun one!