Five things I couldn’t throw away

As I’m packing, I keep having these great ideas for blog posts that will never get written, because they’ll either be no longer relevant or (more likely) completely forgotten by the time my life slows down enough to allow for regular blogging again. Some ideas that will likely never see the light of day:

  • Five things we won’t tell the new homeowners
  • A love letter to my packing tape gun
  • Five reasons to never hire my real estate agent

Today, I’ve been packing the stuff from my dresser into boxes. (Sidebar: does this seem as ridiculous to you as it does to me? Every other time I’ve moved, I’ve simply removed the [full] dresser drawers, carried them out to the truck, put them down in a stack, carried down the frame, put the drawers back in the frame, and repeated the whole process in reverse at the destination. Now I’m told that I’m supposed to pack the drawer stuff in boxes. Meh.)

Anyway, ahem, yes, I have been packing the contents of my dresser drawers into boxes. My dresser has three big drawers for t-shirts and jammies and stuff, and four much smaller drawers, perfectly-sized for underwear and scarves. One of these drawers is full of the little bits of memorabilia and nostalgia that I’ve been keeping for so long that I couldn’t possibly part with it now, regardless of how ultimately useless it might be. I know for a fact that when we arrive in the new house, I will take this stuff out of the shoe box in which it has been transported, put it back into its little drawer, and mostly never look at it again until we move in 15 more years. I don’t need this stuff, but I can’t part with it.

From the drawer

Here’s a selection of five random pieces from that drawer:

  1. John Olerud rookie card in plastic shield
  2. This is, in fact, but a single card of the many, many baseball cards I have. They are left over from another life, some from my childhood and some from the practice marriage, when I thought the most interesting thing about me was that I knew a lot about baseball and watched nearly every televised Blue Jays game in the 1993 season. I also have a cap on which I collected the signatures of most of the World Series winning lineup in 1992, and a full set of McDonalds ball cards circa the early 1990s. And I’m about six cards short of the full set of 525 Topps cards from the 1971 season.

  3. My Carleton University student card
  4. I attended Carleton from September to December 1988, before I unceremoniously dropped out to work full time as a cashier at Zellers. Definitely not one of my more inspired life choices, and yet even after graduating magna cum laude through the University of Ottawa, I can’t part with this old student card.

  5. The key to my first car
  6. It was a little black Mazda 323 hatchback. I loved that car to death, literally. Did you know you can drive a car more than 60,000 km without an oil change and it will still go? Even though we traded it in for a fancy red Sunfire with a sunroof in 1998, I like having that key around. It reminds me of how far I’ve come.

  7. An old Watchmen bumper sticker
  8. I have no idea why I have this. But I’ve had it for close to 20 years, so it must be at least valuable if not actually important, right? (C’mon, you remember the Watchmen, right? Boneyard Tree? I got this when they played the front lawn of the Supreme Court building, about a million years ago.)

  9. A card from my mom, circa 1989
  10. For my practice wedding, I carried a bouquet of stargazer lillies. One day in the months leading up to the wedding, my mom send me a silk version of my bouquet in a little vase, and this card was in the box. The flowers and the first husband have long since been relegated to the junk heap of history, but I’ve kept this little card for no reason whatsoever except my mom gave it to me.

Five things that I didn’t take a picture of but also didn’t throw away: the letter spelling out the drug protocol for our infertility treatments, the paper where we kept track of Tristan’s diaper contents for the first three weeks of his life, a little keychain with a viewmaster-like picture of my friends and me at Canada’s Wonderland in 1986, a cassette tape my grandparents recorded for me in 1977, and the slip of paper where Beloved wrote his mailing address out for me on the weekend we met and fell in love, just before I made the six-hour drive back to Ottawa in the aforementioned little black Mazda.

Surely I’m not the only sentimental fool in the room. If I rifled through your secret cache of memorabilia, what would I find?

Author: DaniGirl

Canadian. storyteller, photographer, mom to 3. Professional dilettante.

17 thoughts on “Five things I couldn’t throw away”

  1. I did not bring many things from Argentina with me, but on that will be with me until I die is a box of memorabilia from my 80s life (I’m 42 now, make some math!) it has old report cards from high school, tickets to rock band shows, pictures and letters from some girlfriends from the past (when i was young, handsome and irresponsible) and my two notepads where I have all my rugby history from 1979 to 1986 including every single game I played, the statistics from every game and from every year. And so many other things you don’t want to know (and my kids either)

    And this is the male comment of the day. Ahead with all the mums and ladies from DaniGirl Club!

  2. Hmmm…I always throw clothes into garbage bags. I am so fortunate now that the force flex has come alone. No more snags!

    I have the key to my first car as well as a copy of the registration together with a photo of the car all in a shadow box. People don’t understand why I kept the key but it was the very first car I ever bought myself.

    I have a box or two of trinkets and stuff that I PLAN to take photos of when I get a true macro lens. In about 40 years.

    Keep the packing up. You can do i!

  3. Things I have kept: the first thing I embroidered at age 7
    a scrapbook I kept from grade 9
    the apron I made in grade 7
    a very small doll given to me when I was 8 years old
    my baby ring which was cut off my finger
    an empty box which held stationery received in grade 7
    I keep all this useless stuff in this box!

  4. I’m feeling a little strange about this, Dani, but your trinket drawer sounds a lot like mine.

    I have an 8×10 photo of John Olerud who was my favourite player for years (I played first base, grew up in southern Ontario!).

    I have 2 scrapbooks made with painstaking attention to detail for both World Series winning seasons.

    I also drove a black Mazda 323 hatchback.

    I have one of those Canada’s Wonderland picture thingys.

    My metro card from University in France, and my student card from U of G.

    The notebook where we recorded first daughter’s eating and diaper “schedule” for her first few weeks.

    Funny, the things we hold on to 🙂

  5. Letters from my pen pals when I was a teenager.

    Cards my then-high-school-boyfriend, now-husband gave me.

    My karate exam record book. I never did get that black belt.

    A plastic frog a boy gave me once.

    The envelope I wrote contraction times down on when I was in labour with my son.

  6. 1. A random selection of letters written to me by my best friend when her parents cruelly moved her (and the rest of the family) across country when we were in 4th grade. (She later moved back and we’ve remained friends all these years.)

    2. My journals . . . from as far back as 1993.

    3. Letters from my best friend’s sister when she was away at University, detailing the first time she met her eventual husband. Sadly he passed away suddenly (in 3 days) at the age of 31 from acute leukemia. The letters mean even more now . . . I actually now have copies of the originals, which I sent back to her for the scrapbooks she made for her daughters upon his death.

    4. A calculator that no longer works from 9th grade math class upon which I “painted” my name with white-out.

    5. The glow-in-the-dark plastic rosary I received from the school on the occasion of my First Communion in 1982.

    6. Badges from my years as a Brownie, Guide and Pathfinder.

    7. A roll of painter’s tape.

  7. 1. A letter from my grandmother sent the year before she died
    2. A sweater that she knit me when I was about 10
    3. My highschool band sweater, band award, and school jacket
    4. My wisdom teeth that were taken out when I was 18 (1986)
    5. My first shoes that were bronzed

    There is more I’m sure, but each time I do a clean sweep a little bit more gets tossed away….the memories…

  8. I come from a long line of packrats, I have so much stuff it’s ridiculous 🙂 I’ve gotten a bit better at throwing stuff but I still have tons of it… it’s just in boxes from all the moves I’ve made. Boxes I almost never go through (but COULD)
    – just about every note I wrote and got in highschool, in binders (don’t ask)
    – sentimental clothing
    – old keys, keychains, half fille notebooks, etc etc etc

    And I think I have my Carleton card somewhere – it’s awful. I had a FABULOUS photo my first year and the second year they changed systems and took it away. My second year I had just had the worst haircut of my life (I think if I can find the photos and a scanner that will have to be a post some time) and I looked more like what I would have expected to look like now (34 year old mom of 3) instead of an 18 year old girl.

  9. The parking card from QCH the night my son was born is still on our fridge. I don’t know what else to do with it. He turned 6 this week.
    I have drawers upon drawers (and boxes and boxes) with trinkets and memories in them — off the top of my head:
    1. the silver dollars that my grandfather gave me about 20 years ago
    2. the anklet tag from my daughter’s birth and the Polaroid a nurse took of her on the day she was born, before they took her away to CHEO in the incubator
    3. the charm from a necklace I got for my confirmation
    4. the cross from my first communion necklace
    5. a braided friendship bracelet from high school

  10. First, I’m dying to hear about your agent!

    Second, my ‘things’:
    – a handwritten card from my grandmother, given to my mother before she (grandmother) died, to save for my 21st bday
    – a note that my mother left me to find, telling me that my beloved budgie had died while I was at school
    – a tape from a camcorder, commemorating all the goofy stuff my girlfriends and I did one summer when we were 16
    – (choice) concert ticket stubs
    – my United Nations ID card
    – a picture of me and an NYC police officer taken pre-9/11. i wonder about him sometimes, and hope he was ok.

  11. Too funny! I have a John Olerud rookie card, too, squirreled away somewhere in our house. If you find out it’s worth a lot, you have to tell me, ‘kay?

  12. I have:
    The card from the flowers my now husband left for me at our first apartment (it says ‘Welcome home’
    The stuffed pig I couldn’t sleep without when I was little
    The sales forms for my first car
    A mini cassette tape of my interview with Jaromir Jagr when I was still dreaming of being a sports reporter

  13. The piece of looseleaf paper that my dad used to write down the times of my mom’s contractions on the day I was born. Horse shoes from both the horses I’ve owned. A small plastic container with all my baby teeth. A tobacco box shaped like a coffin.


  14. I still have the key of the car we bought in New Zealand 7 years ago, when we backpacked there. It was in my wallet for ages… only recently I put it in my memories box. I don’t have that many stuff but I like my random memories items.

  15. The Watchmen?! Love it!

    Some of the items I can never part with? A shoebox of notes passed in high school, a bet “contract” written on a McDonald’s napkin between my now husband and I (from the day when I knew that I was really in love with him because he is funny and quirky), a few of my grandmother’s clothes, a political campaign button from the “Natural Law Party” (they were yogic flyers) and this really ugly pair of earrings from junior high that made me feel like a million bucks (hot pink tin foil cut into star shapes and dangly – worn with stirrup pants = v. sexy!).

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