Apr 162012
 

I finally laid to rest the last victims of the great flood of ’96. That was the first major sewer back-up at my house in Shaker Heights. The basement had been fully furnished. Gone. My entire record collection had also been down there. And though I never played those records again, I still had them. They spent the last six years sealed in boxes. Now they are in the dumpster.

I’m moving. The Why’s and Where’s will have to wait for another couple of weeks. Today is about moving on, the emotional exercise of letting go of one’s past.

Tossing the albums, literally, into a dumpster was not easy. I had to first admit that those boxes probably held more mold that music. I emptied the storage closet of items that I was never going to use again and that were of no value to my children. Between the storage closet and my second bedroom I’ve got nearly two car loads’ of stuff for the Salvation Army.

I found pictures of my children, step-children, and assorted relatives while sorting through the boxes. There were mementos of trips to Paris, Israel, and Australia. Some of the pictures were rally old. I still had brown hair.

I was getting a lot done. Productive. Efficient. I confidently chose which keepsakes were meaningful and which, like the program from the 2009 Senior Open at Canterbury, I could toss. And then I opened a box of wooden plaques. And I stopped.

If you visited my office sometime between 1992 and 2010, you have seen those plaques. I was a national leader for a wonderful company that no longer exists. Those awards, that wood on the wall, meant something to me. They represented a relationship. They represented a commitment. And now they represent the past. I closed the box and walked out of the room.

I’ve lived in this apartment for six years. With pen, legal pad, and an adult beverage, I’ve sat on this balcony and written more than a few of these posts. And in the waning hours of sunlight on a warm Sunday afternoon, I can convince myself that I needed a break and a little fresh air.

But I know what I have to do. There’s still room in that dumpster for one more box. And it is time for me to be movin’ on.

  2 Responses to “Movin’ On”

  1. Stuff. Attachment. Zen. It’s all been said. But for you it sounds like those plaques were a chunk of your identity. That’s harder to move on from.

    When I lost my job at Argonne National Lab, I struggled with the transformation from public academic to industrial scientist. I identified myself as a person who adds to the sum total of human knowledge, even if in ways that are usually impractical and obscure. I’m not that guy anymore. As misty-eyed as I got about admitting I’d never listen to most of my LPs again, the other thing was a lot harder.

    By the way, the time to make the decision about the LPs is the moment the rest of the wet basement is cleared up. You either dry them out or throw them away. Sealing them in boxes wet is just throwing them away while continuing to carry them around. But you probably knew that.

  2. I still have 1 box of vinyl left, tucked under a coffee table, a large collection distilled…. but Jeff is right, it is Stuff. I have an issue with Stuff, probably as a result of a lifetime of having had to keep accounting records. (Sigh). My real sticking point is in photographs. I tend to treat them as if they are living, breathing things.

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