Saturday, October 12, 2013
My childhood hoard
I enjoyed a solitary trip to the library yesterday to work on the book and picked up Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things while I was there. I'm already two-thirds finished reading because it's full of stories of people whose brains operate like mine!
I was inspired to haul out one of my two memory bins and pull out my memory boxes, which I haven't done more than open once or twice since realizing I struggled with hoarding.
So here's the good and bad news: I have always been a hoarder.
Or at least I began exhibiting hoarding tendencies in elementary school. I began saving treasures and ticket stubs in small boxes, for a total of eight by the end of college. I knew I saved some unusual stuff, but looking back at middle school me in mementos is slightly disturbing. It demonstrates my ongoing difficulties in assessing what is worth keeping, and my personality that loves to record.
Here's an inventory of Box 1, spanning probably into middle school:
- I "heart" Skipwith pin (my fifth grade school)
- Matchbook from The Raven, a Virginia Beach restaurant my dad liked
- Ribbon with an unused sticker from our church's picnic
- Friendship bracelets, which I learned how to make at eight years old from my cousin in Australia
- Driedel from Kindergarten, when a Jewish boys' mother gave them to our class when we learned about Hannukah
- Several broken pieces of costume jewelry, probably one of my grandmothers
- A seagull with a pin for legs, probably a Virginia Beach memento
- A tiny painted ceramic bear dressed in Thanksgiving garb (no memory)
- Two tiny erasers, a rainbow and bear
- The green string wristband I wore for admission to the pool at Westmoreland State Park where we vacationed each year
- A maple's "helicopter" seed
- A Volkswagon Bug Matchbox car and a Micro Machine
- A needlepoint project of a black cat
- A flattened penny from the Science Museum
- A dilapidated fake flower pin
- A blue ribbon from my kindergarten field day
- A gold pin shaped like a koala with an opal for its belly, still in baggie
- A silver turtle that opens and is holding a lock of what I presume to be my hair
- A pink plastic ballerina figurine that I received as a treat on a cross-country trip, either to St. Lous or Florida. My mom had a pink pig puppet named Portia pig who would dole out little snacks and gifts to keep us entertained on a long drive
- The end of a pen from Mount Vernon, where a little horse and carriage image slide back and forth
- A replica green glass seal with the initals AW for Augustine Washington, George's father. Also my initials
- Two of my grandmother's planning commission business cards
- Flattened rose petals
- A homemade graduation cap for my fifth grade "graduation" I remember this because the parent who made them had a few extra and I was pleased to get a spare. I recall getting first pick because I had gotten the top score on a US states and capitals test at end of year
- Two Richmond Braves (AAA baseball) ticket stubs. Tickets cost $2
- A flattened carnation corsage
- A postcard my great-grandmother sent to my dad as a child when he was sick with the mumps. It has a photo of a kitten and squeaks
- UVA men's basketball ticket stubs
- Horse pin that belonged to my great-grandmother
- Little box with "worry dolls" from Guatemala. From a missionary that visited our church?
- A tiny sample of Mary Kay lipstick that a consultant gave me for helping entertain her kids while she visited my mom
- Some heart-shaped stick-on earrings (unused)
- Two raffle ticket stubs that say "keep this coupon"
- Two Werthers candy wrappers
- One Andes mint wrapper
If this were my only box, I'd say I wasn't that unusual of a child. But this is the first of eight, with some stranger stuff to come. I'm genuinely puzzled about the candy wrappers and raffle tickets, what value I thought those possessed. Since I've never been one to hoard true trash as an adult, I'm giving elementary me the benefit of the doubt that these items had a forgotten connection to important events. And my reluctance to use things begins to surface with the lipstick and earrings, both of which were designed to be used and disposed, not packed away in a treasure box!