Breland: Life a scattered trail of things and memories

Published 10:56 am Friday, September 23, 2022

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Do you ever buy a needed item, take it home, put it away and then when you really need it … forget exactly where you put it?

I was reminded of this lately when I had to go back and buy more of a small item because I had absolutely no memory of where I put the first one. I searched like crazy in every place I could think, but it was nowhere to be found. It is enough to blow one’s mind!

I often tell myself that I am really not a forgetful person, but then something like this happens and I am reminded we are all forgetful at some point.

We … not just me … did this once with keys. We were going on a trip and locked all the outside buildings and put away the keys … and neither of us could find them when we got home. Had to get new locks and keys. Those keys are still somewhere in some place, but we never remembered where.

I don’t see this is an especially bad problem of just mine because it doesn’t happen often, but it can become expensive. I try to put things in a special place with like items together making sure I can find them.

“I will put them in this special place where I will be sure to remember” can be a joke on one’s self.

Trying to remember dates and appointments is no problem because I write all of them on a calendar. I dare not do this because I hate to even be late for appointments, and especially to miss them.

“Put them on the calendar in your cell phone,” I am often told. This may work for some, but I still prefer to see it all on a calendar tacked to the wall in plain sight.

I remind myself often about getting rid of items no longer of much use to me, but I find it very hard to throw anything away. So I accumulate. I guess it goes back to the old times when everything was used until it fell apart.

At this stage of my life, I think about my children having to go through all the stuff I have collected and put away, making decisions as what to do with everything. I really hate to think of how much can be thrown away.

So I am trying to make some space by dealing with a lot of it myself. It is not an easy job. Things that may mean a lot to me may have no meaning at all to another person … even my children and grandchildren.

I remember when we went through all of my late mother’s collection of cherished objects. We hated to throw anything away, so we brought things home with us to add to our already growing pile of “things” to keep.

Where do we stop and start cleaning out? Some people have no problem and plan a yard sale to rid themselves of un-useable items. Others clean out when they move from one house to another. What about we who live in the same house for 50 years? When does the big cleaning out happen?

Some small items mean a lot in life memories, nothing really valuable, but what will it mean to others even if I tell them what it meant to me? Hard questions, but I suppose it is one we all have to answer for ourselves.

Where does those things go besides to the dump? Will anyone be really interested? So I keep moving, slow as Christmas, to do what I can while I am here.

As we travel through life, we leave a scattered trail of things and memories. Will that trail mean anything to life as it continues? We cannot know. Only time will tell.

Retired as Associate News Editor, Bob Ann Breland writes a weekly column for The Daily News. You can email her at