First thing this morning was to present the car at the Car Audio Specialties at 9am for installation of a dashcam. That’s the first of two things I’m lavishing on the Prius now I’m settled on keeping it. Tomorrow it gets a polish job.
The installation was smooth; the guy took great care to get the front and rear cameras installed where they were out of the way and had a good view. He took me through downloading the phone app and basic usage, but I still need to get on the company website and review the features, of which it has many.
At home I tackled more of the infamous APR closet. This has been our low-use storage area for decades. Periodically Marian, or sometimes I, would go in and organize some part of it. But basically it was the place where we kept stuff-to-not-throw-away-but-also-to-not-think-about-just-now. Assorted items of family history. Photos. Collected things.
I declared the shelf on the right wall was “things for the estate sale”, and the shelf on the left wall was “things I will keep”. Stuff to discard went on the floor until there was a mound, then I carried it to the garbage can or recycle bin.
To the right went the Kodak Carousel projector, a lamp shade, some stadium seats, other marginally valuable stuff. To the left, quite a pile of family memorabilia. Eventually I broke that down into three piles, “my/our history”, “Marian’s history”, and “Lacrampe Family” (Marian’s relatives and ancestors). The latter pile I will go over with my sister-in-law. Hopefully she’ll take at least some of it. (Mind you, she’s likely to have to do her own downsizing soon. Sorry, I’ve got my own problems.)
Some things were easy to throw away. There were several pillows that we’d used on the rare occasions we had guests. Old, used pillows: trash. There was a drawer where Marian had put all the medical braces, slings and wraps that either of us had needed, like my sling from when I dislocated my shoulder about 25 years ago, and her wrist brace from some RSI problem at least as far back. All trash. A folder of news items about the great Oakland Hills fire. A folder of news items about the ’89 earthquake. Recycle. One drawer held assorted exercise equipment. Some of that, small dumbells and so on, went on the right shelf; some like elastic exercise bands, to trash.
Then it got harder. One drawer was all kinds of stuff from our times in England: guides to various castles and stately homes, guidebooks, maps. All of no use to anyone. But we’d accumulated all those on the spot and saved them — why exactly? Not planning to go back; but neither of us ever went to that drawer to review places we’d been. Harder even was another drawer where Marian had saved a thick stack of SWBB memorabilia: programs from the last dozen end-of-year awards banquets; programs from Final Fours we had attended; newspaper and magazine clippings.
I got very emotional flipping through this stuff and carrying it to the recycle bin. I was both crying and raging, repeating what’s the point of fucking memorabilia if you never go back and fucking look at it? I did not want to deny, or to denigrate, the care and effort Marian had put into keeping this stuff, yet I cannot accept the alternative, to retain it all indefinitely, packing and moving and finding storage space it in whatever new home I get. I would feel stupid trying to carry these memorabilia onward when I know I’ll never look at them. I don’t want them; they have zero value to anybody else; so they have to go — but effecting that puts me in the position of being the executioner, in effect, killer of a part of her life and our lives together. Not a job I asked for, but here I am, doing it.
There’s another hard part coming:
About thirty years of photographic slides, from 1973 when we first started serious shooting to circa 2003 when we went digital. Somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 probably. Now, (a) they are all organized and cataloged in detail, and (b) quite a few of them have already been scanned and digitized. My next big job is to inventory which of the catalog groups have not been scanned, and of those, which are actually worth my time now, to scan them and preserve them (if any are).
Marian and I had several conversations over the years about the value of the slides, debating why we took the trouble to catalog and keep them, when (here’s a familiar refrain!) “we never go back and look at them”. Yes, that was said, by both of us, more than once. She was sure that when we were gone, nobody would give a shit (her words), they’d just be thrown out. So why keep them now? And we never had a good answer, really; yet we didn’t toss them — then. I’m pretty sure they’ll be tossed soon, but I need to review the un-scanned groups first.