December 8, 2008

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

DH and I were having a conversation the other day about my sandals. Don't ask me how we got onto that topic; I'm pretty sure it was me going off on a tangent as always with him listening patiently as he usually does. As I was telling him their long and interesting history, he commented, “You know, that means you’ve had those shoes longer than you’ve not had them.”


I know, he was actually listening, not pretending to listen! That boy ought to get a medal. Not only that, he uncovered a trivial bit of insight as well. Yes, those sandals have been a part of my life longer than they have not been a part of my life. Weird to think about it that way. So that got me thinking about all the things I’ve held onto for years on end that I can’t seem to part with. Not all have been with me as long as the sandals, but all have been used to their deepest potential and so on, surpassing the “throwout” stage by miles.

1. Fake, off-brand “Tevas”

Yes, these are them. The shoes that have been with me for the majority of my years. I bought these in seventh grade for a choir field trip to Dallas. It was going to be hot, and we would be doing a lot of walking, so I wanted something comfortable. I went to Wally world and picked these up. Who knew Walmart could sell shoes that would last so long? Honestly, I don’t think they look so worse for the wear. I’ve worn them everywhere. I took them to college and on my mission. I've walked in them all around Australia and Washington, D.C., and many other places. And I still wear them—proudly.

2. Fan that sounds like no other

I got this fan my freshman year in college. (I won’t say how long ago that was!) Growing up, my siblings and I always slept with a box fan blowing in the hallway. Not for air circulation, but for the sound. Something about that sound just lulls me right into dreamland. When I went away to school, my mom got me this fan to help me sleep at night. I’ve had other fans since then, but none of them quite sound the same as this one. This one doesn’t click or whir and it’s just the right volume.

When I got married, I brought my trusty fan with me. One night, it fell from the windowsill and broke into two pieces. I almost cried. (Well, almost.) I tried to replace it, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw it out, and other fans just didn’t sound quite right. So, I’ve jimmy-rigged it many times with packing tape. Somehow, it always ends up falling apart. And now, the cover won’t stay on. But, I am undaunted! I just go right on loving that well-loved fan. Although, I’m beginning to think I’ve got to part with it because it really is a huge eye-sore! Poor fan.

3. Ratty, old, purple sweater

I can’t even remember how long it’s been since I’ve had this sweater. I think it belonged to my older sister before it belonged to me. It also had matching sweat pants that I loved to death (literally). But, eventually they got so old that the waistband actually crumbled away. I would’ve kept wearing them too, but it got to be too difficult to try to keep them up all the time! The sweater has held up better, but not by much. It's just so comfy! Just looking at it makes me think of a cold winter night, bundled up with hot chocolate in my hand, or a nice relaxing Sunday afternoon, watching I Love Lucy or Bewitched reruns. I can’t give it up . . . I just can’t!

4. Homemade bedspread, with love

My mom made this quilt for me when I was in eighth grade, I think. My favorite color was yellow (which has now morphed into the closely-related orange), and I liked sunflowers, so I picked out this fabric. It stayed on my bed even after I went away to college, and it was nice to come home to a room that was exactly as I left it. After awhile, the quilt found its way to a box in the closet, where it stayed. Later on, after I got married, my mom asked me if I’d like to have it. I was so thrilled! She mailed it to me that week, and now we use it as a throw in the living room. It’s held up pretty well; I’ve had to do a few repairs, but nothing too major. It get’s thinner every year, but it still keeps me warm.

5. My high

My brother brought me back this necklace when he spent a semester in Jerusalem. The charm is the Hebrew letter ה (“He,” pronounced “High”). This letter is a symbol of good luck and holiness in the Hebrew tradition. I loved this necklace (well, I still do), and I used to wear it every day. Then the chain broke, so I kept it in my jewelry box for a long time. I always meant to get a new chain, but I never got around to it. It kind of scared me when the chain broke, and I think, subconsciously, I’ve never gotten another chain because I feel like it needs to be kept in a “safe place” now. It’s become more of a special occasion necklace, instead of an everyday one. I even wore it in my engagement picture.

6. Fillies forever

So, yeah, I’ve already divulged this, but I was on my high school’s dance team back in the day. Honestly, there is precious little I’ve kept from those days: some old leotards, a duffel bag, some T-shirts. I’ve been able to part with lots of stuff (Can you hear my mom sigh?!), but for some reason, I’ve hung on to this ridiculous T-shirt. We called it “the kickline shirt,” and we had to wear it to school on certain days. The whole team hated this shirt with a passion, but it was part of tradition. The design had been around for a long time (I’m guessing, early 80s? Ya think?), and the director couldn’t let it go, or maybe it was the parents who liked it, I don’t know anymore. We did get another T-shirt that looked better, so we could alternate the two, but there was no escaping the kickline shirt 50 percent of the time.

After the initial humiliation, I got used to it. And now, for some weird reason, I can’t let it go, even though the plastic stuff is starting to crack and peel. Maybe it’s my token of that rite of passage I had to endure, my souvenir for surviving. I sleep in it, I lounge in it, I cook in it, etc. But, I’m usually very careful not to leave the house with it on my body. Recently, I made this mistake. I went to get the mail on a Saturday afternoon in my kickline shirt, and somebody I knew saw me. Ugh. Now I’m thinking maybe I should throw it out once and for all.

Why do I hang onto this stuff? Why can't I clear out my closet like a normal person? I just love to assign every belonging I have, no matter how small, with all kinds of sentimentality. ("Don't throw that out! I got that on my fifth grade field trip to the recycling center!") But, I have to say, in my own defense, I have gotten a lot better. I have two people to thank for this: my loving husband, who gently encourages me to make room for other living essentials (like say, a bed, a couch, maybe a dining room table?), and Peter Walsh from TLC's Clean Sweep, who taught me that my mother is not a pillow. ("To remember my mother, I have to keep ALL this stuff.")

These wonderful guys have helped me see that I don't have to keep every last thing that I've touched since birth around me always. But at the same time, I have to hold on to some (a limited number) of those things just for the sheer comfort. It's probably part nostalgia and part constancy. There are so many things that change in this crazy world, it's like I want to hold on to just a few things that will always stay the same. I get to keep those favorite things, so that, when the dog bites and the bee stings, I won't feel so bad.


Gini+Eric said...

Oh my gosh, LOVE LOVE LOVED this post. Thanks for sharing. Eric can't sleep without the sound of the fan either! I'm so glad someone else I know guards random precious items too, no matter how worn they become.

Dan and Margo said...

I also have to sleep with a fan! We have tried so many only to find one that is just right. And I love the Fillies shirt! I still have my "Stangs 99" shirt that we got before Freshman year...