Despite the fact that it was hotter than blazes today (although you won't hear me complaining about sunshine), Jason and I undertook the project of partially sorting through the attic because we're going to have a garage sale next weekend. One of the reasons why I can be so determined about keeping the house clutter-free is because we have an attic where all the stuff goes that I can't quite part with. Stuff that doesn't exactly deserve a spot in the house, but it doesn't deserve to be tossed out either. Our attic is full of the obvious things, like Christmas ornaments and boxes (and boxes and boxes) of baby clothes. It's also holds four smallish boxes that are filled to the brim with memories.
Every year I think I'll throw stuff from these boxes away. So much paper and fluff that I only glance through every few years. Like the first box, full of papers from the summer of 1993 when I went on a missions trip to Romania with Teen Missions International. Letters home, letters from my parents, my friends, my teammates. Handbooks of rules (oh the rules!), songbooks, journal entries. I rummaged through it all, feeling kind of torn about throwing it away. And then there at the bottom of the box was a tea set that I bought one Saturday when our team went to some lake in Romania. I had forgotten about that day at the lake. I had had such a good time that day.
Jason sorted through other stuff around me, glancing up to see my paused in my mission of throwing things away. "You going to keep that?"
Oh dear. I made him haul all these boxes down just so I could throw them away, but now..."It's funny. I don't have any use at all for this stuff. Hardly ever even look at it. But I wouldn't have remembered that day at the lake if I hadn't gone through this box. If I get rid of all this, maybe it'll mean I'll get rid of that memory too."
Jason assured me that I didn't have to get rid of it. He'd take it back up to the attic.
Another box is full of letters from high school. I had every intention of throwing everything in that box away. The notes from Angie Collantino that she wrote during math class, the letters from Megan Christensen and Sarah Cantrell that made me laugh and laugh. The cards from old boyfriends (one of whom even has a blog now!), and cleverly folded papers from school friends. I hadn't read through these letters in years, so no sense keeping them.
Oh, except...then I started reading them. Ten minutes later, I boxed them all back up again. I really have no use for those letters. Some of them are pure nonsense, but as I read the old notes I remembered those days back from high school. So, the two boxes I was going to toss away, ended up going back to the attic.
The final two boxes are ones I wanted to check up on to make sure all the stuff was still okay. A box of toys, and a box of childhood papers. Things that haven't seen too much daylight since about 1985.
Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony, and California Barbie are still doing fine. Their respective gadgets are still in working order, although this time around I noticed the considerable wear they received all those years ago. I debated about which toys to pull out for Sydney. I decided she could have one pony--which she spent the afternoon chatting with and giving rides to on her tricycle--and then I put the rest of the toys back in the attic. Another year I'll bring them down.
I glanced through the diary I kept my fifth grade year, marveling at the drama of March 3, 1987 ("I got in another fight with Rachel. I'm friends with her again though.") and the mundane ("I watched 'Who's the Boss?' and 'Growing Pains.' That was real touching."). It's almost uncomfortable reading about my elementary school nerdiness. I don't know why I bother keeping the diary since it's really so...awkward. Fortunately, I grew up some. I don't get into fights with my friends anymore, although I suspect I would still cry if I saw a particularly touching episode of "Growing Pains." Because really, what's not to cry about Kirk Cameron before he was Left Behind, and Leonardo DiCaprio before he was a mega-hot movie star?
I still have a thick envelope of paper dolls, which I was relieved to see since I thought I had lost it. Mostly I wanted to make sure I still had my Princess Diana paper dolls. She was there, with her seven glamorous paper outfits. At the bottom of this box is my sticker book that my mom put together for my tenth birthday. I still remember waking up that morning of my birthday, and looking down to see it on the floor, filled with all my stickers and some new ones too. It was one of the best birthday presents I ever remember receiving.
Flipping through the pages, it wasn't hard to tell that I was indeed a child of the 80's. Stickers of girls with leg warmers. Stickers of unicorns cheering for the American Olympic team. And pages and pages of stickers of baby animals, which I suspect has less to do with the 80's and more to do with being a pre-teen girl.
Oh, but my favorite sticker of all just captured everything about my childhood obsessions. I have no recollection of receiving this sticker, but I suspect I mailed away for it. I would wager to guess that my cousin Donnelle and I probably had matching stickers, because we were united in this particular devotion.