Sunday, January 4, 2009

Kickin' my childhood to the curb.

It seems in life there are two types of people. The pack-rats and the purgers. I'm a pack-rat. I always have been, and I can't see that changing any time soon. I was the girl who once kept a collection of bus transfers, although I didn't need much encouragement to throw that away. I am however, still grieving the "loss" of my rock collection (that took up 4 ice cream pails beside the shed in our yard) that apparently melted with the snow one spring when I was about 8. On a side note, my parents thought they were getting payback this year when they brought Luke home from the lake with a big box of rocks, but they didn't know I had a rock tumbler stashed away in my crafting pile, and they simply gave Luke and I a project.

However, I did marry a purger, which is the cause of some marital strife in our household. Over the last 8 years of our marriage my husband has slowly whittled away at my mountain of "useless stuff". Gone are the out-of-style clothes that will likely never fit me again. Gone is my collection of shopping bags from fancy boutiques and once trendy places. Gone is my purse collection (although I am working on building that back up, except that now the purses are larger). Gone are most of the notes passed back and forth during class and the bulk of letters that were stuffed in my locker, the movie stubs, the tickets from the roller rink, and those other little scraps of paper that were once so important (yes, I have kept a few in a shoebox...unless they melted last Spring). My 3 garbage bags of stuffed animals has been pared down to 1/2 of a big moving box. The other half of the box, as well as a second one filled with Cabbage Patch Dolls, Barbies, and a teensy doll house with little plastic 80s precursors to Polly Pocket which I can no longer remember the name, that once smelled as fruity as Strawberry Shortcake, but now smells of stale air. My childhood reduced to 2 boxes, that is, as of last year.

Lately my husband has been in purge mode. We need walls in the forgotten part of our basement and to build those walls, we need space. My husband really wants those walls, at the expense of many of his Hockey and Baseball cards, Sports Illustrated magazines, Sports memorabilia and trophies. Now Christmas is over, the tree and decorations are down and boxed, and now is the time of year when the husband heads back into the crawl space, and the out-of-sight out-of-mind theory can not protect my childhood mementos. So the other day, out came my childhood, smelling a little musty but still in good shape. I had to sacrifice the giant stuffed schnauzer that my grandfather gave me, and the rest of the stuffed animals to protect my Cozy Teddy bear. I gave up all my Barbies, the suitcase of novelty shaped erasers, glittery pencils and dime-store treasures, but it didn't seem to be enough to protect the larger stash of Cabbage Patch dolls with a hamper of clothes. And then I discovered my mother's baby doll, Barbie and some old records from her childhood, which my father must have accidentally packed in my stuff, in his hurry to get my mountain of junk out of his house. When I called my mom to see if she wanted these things back, maybe it was the sound of desperation in my voice, maybe she remembered all those times I spent hours in my room trying to purge but ending up reminiscing and coming out with the tiniest of discard piles, but she suggested that I bring the Cabbage Patch dolls, their bed and all the clothes over to her house so she can see about getting rid of the musty smell so we can find a home for them. I hope I understand her right when I think that this is all a code for her harbouring my fugitive dolls until the heat dies down. So as not to be fooled again by promises to give stuff away that get lost in the heap of junk, Bruce packed up the box and it now sits in the van awaiting transfer to the more secure facility. Hopefully my childhood will make it back home someday when the walls are completed. I'm so thankful for my mom buying me some time...I almost forgive her for getting rid of my rock collection that fateful spring...almost.