27 September 2009


A few personal belongings still remaining in my old house. Over the course of the next couple of days, I will either pack or throw away all of these items. The things I keep will probably fit into one box.

There is nothing like the process of moving to provide a mental refresher of the inventory of your belongings. The quantity of my belongings have increased through the years as a consequence of natural inheritance: gifts from loved ones, passed along in life or after their death. Some of these possessions are special, but not entirely useful. For example, when my father was in high school, he took a wood-shop class one year and brought home all of the items he made in class. His mom dutifully kept them all. My grandmother died several years ago, but before she died, she gave me a large box full of my dad’s wood shop class projects and some family photo albums. I love the little wooden trinkets that my father made when he was 17, but in all honesty, they have little use and he, himself, forgot about them many years before he died.

My own mother, still alive, has given me a number of gifts through the years that were her own possessions as a young girl. I have a pretty porcelain piggy bank, a doll and some tiny ceramic figurines in the shape of skunks. (I don’t know the story behind that.) I also have a couple of sets of pillowcases that someone in my recent ancestry embroidered. I sleep on these pillowcases often and I love thinking that perhaps my great grandmother may have sat on her front porch embroidering these on peaceful summer evenings.

I evaluate my own belongings: clothing, dishes, books, art, jewelry, photographs, towels, shoes, furniture, mixing bowls. I wonder what will become of these belongings as I grow older? I do not have a daughter that might want my mother’s porcelain piggy bank or my amethyst earrings or the linen tablecloth that my grandmother cross-stitched. It is doubtful that my nephew will have much interest in the belongings that are so special to me now.

The pages of the calendar of my life continue to turn. As busy as I am or and as young as I feel, I continue to get older and my belongings move through the years along with me. With a renewed cognizance of the inventory of the stuff I am carrying with me, I hope to either incorporate infrequently used items into my life or discard them without guilt. With any luck, I will dig deep to find the ingenuity, stamina and wisdom to achieve this goal.

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