Monday, January 27, 2014

Preserve Your Memories

One of my oldest and dearest friends e-mailed me last Thursday. The gist of the communication was "Everything okay? You aren't posting and I want to make sure you haven't died or something." (That's the New American Standard translation, and liberties may have been taken from the original Greek.)

Everything fine here. Last week was trustee meeting and between that and the frozen brain cells that have resulted from Mother Nature's latest blast of let's-stick-you-in-the-freezer-and-see-if-you-have-more-sympathy-for-English-peas-now, I didn't find the three minutes I usually use to think about blog posts during the latter part of the week.

Then on Saturday I was busy de-stuff-ifying.

The process has been going quite smoothly so far. Every Saturday I don't have to be out of town I have committed to removing four garbage bags and/or boxes of stuff from the House on the Corner, so after three weeks I have lightened the load on its weight-bearing beams by TWELVE BAGS! Woooo!

The experience has been strangely liberating. I have two keep-or-dispose-of litmus tests--Have I used it recently? and Does it have sentimental value to my children?, and if the answer to both of those questions was "no," out it went. Bags of old birthday cards and lists from 1997 went into the trash. Counted cross-stitch kits that I will never finish went into the Goodwill pile. Books that I will never re-read were earmarked for the library book sale.

And then we came to the records.

When Husband and I married, we each brought into the union a healthy stack of long-playing vinyl that we played on our fancy turntable with the three-foot-tall speakers. A few years later, though, we moved to the House on the Corner, where we discovered that it's not only humans who get a little shaky after 100 years on the planet. Walking across the living room floor while the stereo was playing would cause the needle to skip, so we stopped playing the albums until the problem could be fixed. Meantime, here came digital recordings, MP3 players, all kinds of gizmos that made LPs obsolete. Our stacks of records sat properly on their edges (to avoid warping) for almost 30 years. We loved those records--they were the soundtrack of our angst years, and just hearing Elton John croon the title song of his Friends album could transport me back to my moody high school self.

Saturday we decided it was time to let someone who would actually play these records have a chance at them. I called a local collector, who said he was interested, and we carted the 150 or so albums down to the dining room table. As it turned out, though, the collector had a different perception of the desirability of our albums than we did. He shuffled through a few, grabbed a handful out of the stacks, and was out the door before we could explain that this was IMPORTANT MUSIC.

This was the Switched-on Bach that was my very first album! That was the Jesus Christ Superstar recording that I played until it was etched into my brain! Those were the Broadway cast recordings that made me love Music Man and West Side Story and Cabaret! Over there is the recording of The First Family that I can still quote verbatim ("The rubber ducky? Is mine.")! He didn't even glance at any of these, or at the Carpenters or the Eagles or the Marshall Tucker Band, or Peter Paul and Mary. It was heartbreaking.

But then I remembered, again, the rules I'm using in this process. We haven't listened to any of those records for at least 25 years, and they have no sentimental value to my children, so they're leaving the house. I am de-stuff-ifying and that makes me happy, but these records have taken me back to a time of innocence, a time of confidences, and that makes me melancholy.

I think I'll go listen to some Simon and Garfunkel.

1 comment:

  1. You are an inspiration. And I hope you post frequent updates about this de-stuff-ifying because I need the constant reminders. I did okay this weekend... 2 bags. Hopefully will have time during the week to get at least 2 more!