I’ve been in another Throw-Stuff-Out-Now phase. Every time I get one of those calls from the Cerebral Palsy charity that they are coming to my neighbourhood to pick up used items and would I have anything for them to pick up, I always, always say, “You bet! I’ll have something on the porch before 8 am marked with CP for your driver.” I have to say all that or else they’ll keep me on the phone for another five minutes to say the same thing.
This time, however, it wasn’t obvious to me what I could actually get rid of. I looked at the cats and they gave me that, “You wouldn’t dare!” look. I told them they were safe for now since they are not used clothing, kitchen items or books. That appeased them for the moment. I don’t even bother with the closets since I’ve stripped them of everything except the stuff I actually still wear. What’s left after that to donate I’m not sure any decent charity would accept. So CP will have to do with a small donation this time around.
But while I was going through drawers and boxes, I found my old address books. I hadn’t seen them around here for a long time and figured they were the victims of one of my other purges. But no, there they still were, stuffed in a drawer that I seldom opened. These date from the early 1980s when I returned to Washington from my ten years living in Europe. I used to have my little red one from my travels but I must have purged that out of existence a while ago. I wonder why? These survived so why not that one? Maybe it was seeing the ex-ex’s handwriting in it that pushed those pages toward the shredder. Or perhaps my nostalgic meter was turned off that day and the more practical Capricorn side said, “Why are you saving this? Get rid of it now.” Whatever the reason, I just looked for it and it is gone.
These old books are full of little slips of paper or old envelopes with names and phone numbers and addresses for people I don’t even remember meeting. Who is Shirley scribbled on a little piece of yellow paper or someone whose email address started with “SOUL.” And another for an astrologer who I must have gone to see to find out if my stars had a better story about me than the one I was living. These last two addresses must have been folks I met during the time when I was going to a lot of workshops on “Finding the Meaning of Life and How to Live It.” I never did but I must have met some interesting people, eh? I particularly cherish the little piece of paper where my friend, Tonica, wrote her address. After I left Benidoleig, she was never sure that I would make my way back. It was a long way to leave bread crumbs. So she wanted to make sure that I would remember where I had lived for five years. She wrote her address in her clear, concise, European hand and made sure to spell it completely out: “Benidoleig, Provinicia de Alicante, Espana.” I could make it home.
But what do I do with these now, eh? They are full of people I don’t even remember and old, out-of-date addresses for the ones I do. I was talking to my Social Media and All Things Technical Guru, Sarah, about them this morning at brunch and she said, “Keep them. They’re part of your history.” Practical me said that if I didn’t throw them out then someone else would have to. “So let them do it, ” she countered.
But I don’t know. One part of me wants to let these go. To shred the pages and bits of paper and save addresses of people that I don’t have in my little “Contacts” folder on my computer — which, by the way, will never, ever trigger the same nostalgic feelings that these worn out books do. Why am I saving them?
But, when I see them here on the table, I know that I’m not ready
to let them go yet — not quite yet. I’ll put the elastic back around them and tuck them back in the corner where I discovered them. Maybe the next time or the time after that when the CP calls for donations and I’m rummaging through drawers, I’ll decide to let them go — but not today.