I’m in Portland, OR right now, on the week off between the end of the spring semester and the start of my summer class. However, it isn’t really a vacation. I’m here to go through the stuff that’s mine in my parents’ house and do something with it. For the last two days I’ve been pulling boxes out from underneath the eaves (and often banging my head repeatedly in the process), sorting through old letters, pictures and school papers and deciding what toys from my childhood I want to keep for the future.
The hardest part of it all has been the books. In my lifetime I have acquired and read a huge number of books, and apparently I hardly ever got rid of any of them. Some of the letting go has been easy, because a while back my parents’ garage developed a leak, right where a stack of boxes were placed. They sat there, peacefully mildewing for at least three years. So into the garbage they went. Other choices haven’t been as easy. Every book takes me back to a moment in time, either sitting on the floor of the book section of my favorite thrift store, or tucked into bed with a flashlight, trying to fool my parents into thinking that I was actually asleep.
And yet, there’s also a high that comes from getting rid of things and so I am constantly fluxuating between excited to be free of all the stuff, totally overwhelmed by the amount of work still to be done and a little weepy at the thought of releasing so much of my childhood.