I was a real pack rat as a kid. I kept everything. I was the youngest of four, so with no one to give my old toys and clothes to, I knew if I didn't keep them, they'd leave the house for good.
I was desperately nostalgic too, not only always looking back at my own childhood, but at those of my parents too. As a result, I kept it all for the first 20 years - toys, books, souvenirs. It wasn't until I moved to Montreal for school that I started getting rid of things and really got a taste of the catharsis that comes from shedding belongings. I've since become a chronic disposer. I don't care if it's a butter knife that I don't use anymore, or a pair of socks that's just starting to fray, or an old email that's taking up room in my inbox. I love getting rid of it.
Last weekend, I brought up some Rubbermaid boxes from my basement to see if I could downsize at all. I knew what was in them - things from my pack rat years, pre-20 - objects and books I'd accumulated through childhood. For all the things I've always easily thrown away, it's this collection that I've simply never been able to. By 20, I'd already owned so many of these things for so long, that I couldn't possibly get rid of them. I own almost nothing that I did when I was 23 and almost everything that I did when I was 13.
My mother's linen calendar tea towels from the 70s. The mouthpiece from the euphonium I played in high school. The first plastic cup ever bought for me at Disney World in 1980 when I was 7.
I own every report card ever handwritten by my teachers about me back to Kindergarten and every single school book I ever worked in from Grade 1 up to the final exam booklet I handed in for the last Art History class of my degree at McGill.
Every journal I ever cried into; and every school and class picture I ever sat for, chronicling my aging face and self-reflective curiosity. To this day, I still own every single empty cologne bottle I've ever gone through back to Polo from age 14. Even those cans pictured above were in there. They came from an old abandoned house that my friends and I discovered in the woods when I was 17. I can't get rid of them now.
I knew when I was unpacking these boxes that I'd just look at things and be happy for them and put them back. And I did. It feels like a burden, this collection, but I've invested so much emotionally into it all, into the nostalgia and memory of it all by now, that I can't get rid of these things, not yet anyway. So back into the Rubbermaids, and into the basement it all went for another few years, until I try to downsize again, at a different time in my life.
I took this picture three years ago today and I love that I can know that so easily. Luis and I were in Brisbane and were headed downtown that afternoon, so we left a note for our host, written in stones. That evening, we met some gorgeous new friends, Lisa and Dayna, whom we still miss. We also, unfortunately, got into a fight with our host that evening, about the fact that we'd gone downtown without her. I've been fortunate to live a life largely without much arguing, so when we were embroiled in it that evening, I felt really angry about it.
Anyway, my point isn't about the fight, and it's not even about our beautiful new friends we met. It's that every day now is an anniversary of some kind. There is a date stamp on every photograph we take digitally, and every email has one also. As a result, there is always an opportunity to look back and measure life by any ordinary day. It used to be that I'd reflect on my year since my last birthday, or even last Christmas, or the first day of school last year. Now, with just a bit of searching on my computer, I can look back at what I've done and how I've changed since something as simple as writing a note in stones three years ago.
Bonnie Franklin died yesterday. She was the mom, Ann Romano, on One Day at a Time. It was a show I never loved, but watched a bit as a kid. I thought Barbara (Valerie Bertinelli) was really pretty and I had a crush on Julie (Mackenzie Phillips). In recent years, after hearing of Mackenzie's problems with drugs and her fucked up family, I've discovered I still have a soft spot for her.
The colour on the show was terrible - all camel-y and tans and some light golds. I never loved shows with palettes like that. M*A*S*H* was another one. All that army green and desert-y brown. Blech. So depressing. And Schneider's denim vest and white t-shirt - something I could probably find hot now on the right guy - seemed dirty to me. Not sexy dirty, which hadn't occurred to me yet in the late 70s; just dirty dirty. I will admit that Glenn Scarpelli did improve the viewing for me. I thought he was nice to look at and I liked his scratchy boy-man voice. I don't want to know what he looks like now, but I'll probably Google him anyway.
But anyway, when I heard that Bonnie Franklin died yesterday, I felt sad. For her a bit, yes, but really, more for me. It's people like Bonnie Franklin that played roles in my childhood, no matter how small. Isabel Sanford. Sherman Hemsley. Beth Howland. Linda Lavin. My beloved Celia Weston. I am hating getting older, so as the components of my childhood disappear from the world, I notice. And I hate it.
I won't admittedly miss Bonnie Franklin, but I'm sorry to experience the disruption that her leaving has caused.
Really? Starting a blog now? In 2013? Yes. I might be a bit late to the game, but I can still play. Seems like so many others started their blogs 5 or 7 years ago. I thought it was time for me. And so, hello. I'm really happy to be here.