I have stuff. I am a keeper of stuff. I buy plastic boxes because cardboard just doesn’t do it. For me it is memory, saving memories. I have been pretty good at keeping mostly, mostly carrying a lot of weight, stuff that is important to my life and to our life. When we moved from Massachusetts to North Carolina, I cleaned out a lot–not good at yard sales, but rather good at Habitat and Goodwill. I spent the better part of two Christmas seasons after Tom retired cleaning out all the decorations.

But I like to keep, surround myself with the stuff that illustrates me. I have my grandmother’s Irish linen tablecloth, Tom’s mother’s Irish linen and the Irish linen I brought back from Dublin in ’76. I have dresses from the Dublin Irish Woolen Factory that doesn’t exist anymore. I have all, well mostly all, of my crystal and china wedding presents, my scrap book from eighth grade, my journal of my trip across Europe–by myself in a little Renault, very little–in ’72.

I get that it is may not, will not? be important to my girls.

This past week our youngest visited, spending a lot of time with her Dad. Yay!!! I asked her to help me clean out the attic which held three boxes of mine–1. A original boxed Atari set [circa 1977] with cassettes and joysticks, 2. my Lionel Freight train, Tom’s HO track train and 3. old books–i.e., my Mom’s copy of Shakespeare. .

The rest—see the picture above!!!!–belongs to the baby daughters. Two large boxes of twelve years of ballet costumes. Ah the sequens, the feathers, THE GLITTER! Hanging swings–one horse, one plane. Most of their stuff toys, including Wishbone, remember PBS Wishbone?, and his change of clothes? There are books, papers, awards, business cards. water bottles, and God knows–and I mean that as a prayer- only God knows–what else?

The youngest took her college graduation cap, gown and cords, her framed HS diploma and class picture, her boxed college diplomas, some of her Dad’s charcoal/pastel paintings and not really sure what else, but the boxes and the stuff are still piled high in the room.

My Mom was not good at keeping either her own or my stuff; no school papers that I can find, or awards. Although truthfully, the Italian nuns at Villa Cabrini Academy were more apt to pinch my cheek and call me brigante, based on real time evidence, than give me a certificate of achievement. Dad was not good at stories but he did take wonderful pictures. Those we have.

Still, I look around at the stuff and think, Yeah, this is a good life. Will my daughters or their children wish for the tangible of their memories? I have no clue. But, me? I’ll stay a keeper.