I have a dreaded fear that Oprah’s camera crew will burst into my house any day and start filming for a television show about pitiful packrats who should be institutionalized. They’ll find my box of 4-H ribbons from 1962. It’s packed along with my blue sweater from the 1969 Wendell Pep Band. (I played saxophone.) Then they’ll find my dad’s army jacket and my grandmother’s hat. They’re right beside the box of single 45 records, featuring Sam the Sham singing “Lil’ Red Riding Hood,” and Herman’s Hermits crooning “Silhouettes,” and Gerry and the Pacemakers swooning “Ferry Across the Mersey.” I know I can buy and download a digitally enhanced version of those old songs, but I can’t bear to part with the scratchy-sounding music from my memories.A few years ago, I threw out 200 garbage bags of former-treasures-turned-junk. I was moving and had to clean out the basement. Some of the special items I found included my children’s baby teeth – in little packets with labels and diagrams of their mouths. I found a petrified turtle’s egg that I’ve had for over 20 years. (No, I don’t know why.) And, so very bittersweet, I found a bottle of breast milk tucked in the back of the freezer. My youngest is 27. He doesn’t need it anymore.However, I’m feeling a bit vindicated tonight. My son, my daughter and her husband and their baby girl came over for dinner. They stayed longer than expected and the 10-month-old baby was getting sleepy, but they hadn’t brought pajamas. “I have some!” I exclaimed, with glee. I had saved several pairs of my children’s pajamas and washed them for my new granddaughter. Soon she was wearing a blue and red sports outfit that my son wore 26 years ago. Seeing her in the old jammies made me happy. My children then gently suggested that I could donate the rest of their old clothes to charity, and I agreed. But, I’m still keeping the boxes of their papers from elementary school. You never know when suddenly those papers will become valuable collector’s items! My granddaughter wearing her uncle’s jammies
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