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The Keepsake Hoarder

Ryan, one of my co-workers, likes to give me a hard time for saving plastic water bottles in my work desk.
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(It’s my small way of “going green”.) As I once disclosed in a previous blog, I even have a can opener in my purse, so it should come as no surprise that I have been accused of being a hoarder. The one place that my “perpetual saving” is most evident: my garage.

I am notorious for saving what other people might consider “junk”.  I can’t help it; I become emotionally attached, especially to items that I associate with my kids.  I have been known to keep pictures that my son scribbled in kindergarten over 15 years ago because Picasso had to start somewhere, right?  I also have saved first hair cuts and random baby teeth, even though I am not sure which baby they belong to at this point.  I oftentimes think to myself, do people without children actually park their cars in their garages?  I can’t even remember the last time I was able to get my big ol’ mom van in that garage but know that eventually, I would love to use it for its intended purpose. I rationalize that my vehicle is just too big anyway and isn’t saving all the great childhood memories much more important than getting my van inside?  I don’t need to throw articles away; I just need a smaller car.

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I know that this stockpiling is hereditary, because my parents are savers.  But from all this treasure collecting, a fabulous family tradition was born:  when each child in my family turned forty, my mom would put together a special package of valuables to celebrate their big day.  The windfall would vary from child to child, jackpots ranging from old 8 tracks and albums of our favorite songs, to memorabilia from our respective high schools.  To some, this might be considered “junk”; to the sentimental fool receiving these valued pieces of days gone by, they were small blessings of long lost memories.

Which brings me to my full-to-the-rafters garage, full of mementos.  I think the reason I just can’t part with “hand print” turkeys and dance recital programs is that they make me feel young again.  For some, I’m sure the opposite is true, but for me, reliving the memories of my childrens’ lives gives me a renewed energy.  In fact, after pouring through vintage boxes of keepsakes, not only do I appreciate them exponentially, but I also have so much new-found vigor that I am ready to go shop for a new, smaller car.

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