Nearly 9 years: I think this is the longest stretch of time I’ve gone without moving.
When I moved out of (and then returned to) my childhood home during college, I began a sojourner’s life, living in 17 different homes in a 13-year period. I lived in wonderful places, with wonderful people, for various reasons that chronicled a life lived, as Thoreau would have called it, as more of a saunterer than a sojourner.
Saunterer: perhaps derived from sans terre, without a fixed home, where every place may then be called home. . . .
So, it’s been a while since I’ve planned the purge-and-pack strategy of picking up a life and moving it elsewhere. When I was single, it was easy to do. My life fit in the back of my 1987 Chevy Sprint Turbo (white), with my childhood packed away in this storage area, or that barn, or worse, some garage. For years I moved that oversized sack of my past with me from place to place, afraid to be done with it.
Actually, I was terrified of following in the footsteps of another relative who, upon meeting the man she would eventually marry, she fulfilled his demand in exchanging the burning of all things past for a walk down the church runway. Together, their life symbolized a new beginning, where past boyfriends, memorabilia, and stuffed animals won at crazy carnivals were reduced to ashes that flew to the sky, returned to some place that, perhaps, await them both.
I argued that my past was a part of who I am, the individual, and no person, living or dead, ever had the right to come into my life in any capacity and dictate what I must do with all that comes with being that individual.
I still feel that way. I genuinely do. But I guess that I am being more selective about what represents that wholeness of me, the individual, past and present.
Before, I believed that it meant holding on to everything, every little memory, every little trinket. That’s no longer the case. The memory of my father is not erased if I discard the Alice Cooper album he bought me when I was sick. That was a big deal for him to buy Billion Dollar Babies, but it was just a record album.
I will have a harder time parting with the baseball glove he used to slip over his left hand every time we’d play catch in the back yard. That comes with me to the new house.
My books are another thing. Friends, I have over 2,000 books, and I’m ready to part with nearly half of them. I’ve got Stephen King’s collection, all hardback, nearly complete, that I’m ready to give away. Koontz, Clancy, Sandford, Cook, Straub, and others. You name it, I’ve probably got it. Then there are the classics: Twain, Wells, Dickens, Fitzgerald. The nonfiction books on writing, on blogging, on art, music, diet, food, spirituality.
I can’t give them away. I mean–I can, and I want to, but I invited a book trader in to my home the other day to look at the books, and he wanted to give me $20 for 200 good books. I couldn’t do it. I’d much rather see them go to a good home.
In fact, let me throw the offer out to you right now: You pay for media shipping, and I’ll send you any books you want for free. Tell me what you are looking for, and I’ll tell you what matches. I would much, much rather see them in your hands than in a warehouse stacked against a wall, never to be read.
Back to packing…I hope all of you are having a Good Friday…. 🙂