We went to my mom’s house yesterday and opened up the cedar chest that still lives in Mom’s basement, even though it has my junk in it and I haven’t lived with Mom for 14 years. I promised that we’d take it with us when we move this summer. That, and all the other junk that she’s been holding onto for me.

I pulled out each piece of crazy old knick-knacks, stories, diaries, dolls, and friendship bracelets for Derek to see and admire. Then I made 3 piles: Back in the box, garbage, and yard sale. Before I could toss anything, I had to recount it’s significance. If I couldn’t remember the provenance of a particular piece, into the trash or yard sale pile it went. That included friendship bracelets whose giver I couldn’t remember, Christmas tree ornaments, a really ugly doll and all her clothes, a white lace pillow that said “Friends Forever,” but I don’t remember who gave it to me (I hope it wasn’t you, Karee), a bunch of porcelain and pewter unicorns, and a stack of “art” that I had made as a teenager.

I also tossed

  • a box of cookie Christmas tree ornaments I’d bought in Germany when I was 13,
  • four Coke cans from Germany, with fantastical 80’s designs that I’m sure you’ve never seen,
  • a pair of soccer shin guards that my friend Chandra had given me when she got new ones,
  • a whole bunch of leather necklaces that I made or were given to me when I worked at a church camp for girls and my nickname was Magpie,
  • a plastic jewelry case my dad gave me for my 12th birthday, with earrings still in it,
  • a whole bunch of cassettes of reggae, ska, and Led Zeppelin from high school.

Some of the things I put back in the chest:

  • A cabbage patch doll my aunt Barbara made for me while she was working on her PhD, raising 3 kids, and avoiding mid-terms. Vanessa Lynn has 6 fingers on both hands,
  • My Garfield doll that I got because my best friend Karee had one,
  • Some jewelry my Grandma had brought back from Pakistan when Grandpa was a Fulbright Scholar,
  • A woven poncho from when I lived in Mexico,
  • 3 envelopes of my own hair from when I was 5, 9, and 11,
  • A bunch of report cards and certificates for good spelling and attendance,
  • My trophy for being MVP of the Cross Country team freshman year,
  • My 4 generation pedigree chart,
  • Several writing projects from elementary school,
  • A diary from 1988-89, wherein I tell each and every one of my crushes, exactly why they would never like me, a chronology of the doings of my guppies, exactly how many pictures of Kirk Cameron I had taped on my wall (96), how great Peter Cetera was, and how bored I was every single dingle day.