Nostalgia Storm

I am in the eye of the perfect Nostalgia Storm. This week marks the last ever first day of school for my youngest kiddy-wink and the start of a long year of ‘lasts.’ On top of that I have begun the horrific task of ruthlessly purging 20 years of accumulated shite in preparation for my impending move.

This task is so overwhelming that I find myself wandering aimlessly from room to room, not quite sure where to start. Adding to my angst is the fact that I’m yet to find my next abode, so I’m not sure exactly how ruthless I need to be with my purging of possessions. But needless to say, wherever it is, it will be significantly smaller than where we are now … so purge I must.

I’ve concluded that the luxury of lots of space is both a short-term blessing and a long-term curse. Over the course of the last 20 years, I have squirelled away an obscene amount of stuff … because … well, I could … and. “you never know when you might need that old vacuum hose “… right? Attic space and an oversized storeroom enabled me to turn a blind eye to my latent hoarding gene (inherited from my dear dad who ‘collected’ newspapers … but that’s another story). I am now faced with a task of epic proportions and the reality that I will never again be living in a big family home … and can’t really justify storage costs for the next 50 years. I have to be ruthless. But here’s my dilemma. Like most people, I own a heap of stuff that has no practical purpose … but which I can’t bring myself to ditch. A lot of it falls into the ‘kid memorabilia’ category … and sifting through it has added a few knots of wind to that perfect nostalgia storm that is brewing.

I have spent hours in the attic going through dozens of storage boxes full of stick person paintings, birthday cards, invitations, the odd baby tooth, christening mugs and multiple school report cards. I can’t bring myself to dispose of any of it. Don’t even get me started on the kids old ‘special’ toys and books which I have romantic visions of pulling out of the attic and presenting to my grandchildren in years to come. The cold, hard truth is that these tubs of lego and brio and well worn copies of “Where The Wild Things Are” and “Hairy Mclarey” will undoubtedly be viewed as peculiar, ancient relics delivered by an equally peculiar and ancient Grandma. And lets be real … most apartments don’t have attics!

I’m telling myself that I can justify hoarding kid memorabilia, but I’m scraping the excuse barrel trying to find any logical reason to hang onto my own childhood memorabilia … other than the possibility that it may by now have some antique value. Take for example the entire set of encyclopedias … (not of the collectable Britannica variety) ….oh no … these bad boys are Disney Encyclopedias circa 1975. Then there’s my extensive childhood collection of Avon perfume bottles (delivered by door to door sales ladies) and my three favourite dolls (Tom, Sally and Valerie). Holding on to this stuff defies logic but throwing it away feels a bit like I’m discarding the final remnants and connection to my own childhood.

Memorabilia aside, I’ve also uncovered a heap of other stuff that belongs more in the “what the … ?” category. Why, for instance have I kept a large box of unknown electrical/computer chords, chargers and adapters of indeterminable origin who’s related devices are undoubtedly long gone? What possessed me to hold on to my last four pairs of running shoes? (which, in my defence … I think I was saving for the time that I might need old ‘water’ shoes … like back on year 10 camp). Then there’s my collection of Lonely Planet guides that date back to my uni backpacking days and flute music … (from … this one time … at band camp).

So … I’m vowing to pull up my big girl pants and tackle at least a cupboard a day whilst simultaneously playing soppy songs on itunes. Hmm… maybe I should re-word Barbara Streisand’s song. No longer “Memories, Like the corners of my mind” … my version will be

“Memories, fill a bedroom, so enshrined

extra rent to store the memories

Of the decades left behind.”

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