One man’s junk…

Last spring I went to help my sister-in-law with some spring cleaning. As a busy mom of three active teenagers, who also happens to home school, mind you; she had some “hot spots” of cabinets and closets that had gotten away from her.

Without emotional attachment to her stuff, I was able to set up a card table each morning and pull out the contents, sort them into like items and flag down various family members to determine what was keep, pitch and give away.

Text book organization. So easy.

And then I came home.

And our junk? Not so easy.

On Monday I pulled a sack out of John’s closet. There was an assortment of knick knacks and treasures from grade school through high school. I took a picture of about 6 things and texted him: Any keepers?


One thing made the cut – the soap box derby car he and his dad made for Tiger Cubs.

I texted back a brief story about the Chuck E. Cheese gum ball machine that would be going in the donation bag.

God bless him, he received a blubbering text about the birthday he asked to go there and his sisters helped him win tickets for a prize. It’s good I opted for the waterproof screen protector for my smart phone.

That’s the thing about my junk. It has a story.

The old cosmetic bag that houses a thousand bobby pins might look useless to you when you look at my hair, but I don’t care about useful. I see ballerinas, and show choir competitions and up-do’s for prom.

The art foam paper made into plaques with glitter glue names are summer VBS and Wednesday night church group art.

I see hard-earned prizes from fund raisers and gifts purchased out of allowances by siblings and friends.

The echoes of the past are heavy with memories, trinkets are laced with meaning. How do I hold the moments of the past without drowning in the clutter?

As I set the green race car aside as a keep, I noticed his head has been broken off. I looked in the bag, sad that somehow we had damaged it.

My text alert went off. “He was the best driver in the competition in the headless division.”

When I relayed the message to Russ he nodded his head and laughed.

It must have broken off when they were building it. John remembers the moment. Russ remembers the moment. They share a memory, these two.  Father and son.

For me, this is the treasure that can not be taken by moth or rust. That THEY remember. This is sweet and makes it a little easier to pass along a Chuck E. Cheese gum ball machine to some other little guy out there who can use it.


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