It started with a confluence of free time and the need to pare down our collection of stuff. What better way to take advantage of being unemployed than tending to long-ignored projects around the house. Downsizing and moving to a cheaper cost-of-living area is now within our less-than-five-year plan. I’m borrowing the exercise mantra “use it or lose it” to apply to so many things that have accumulated in the 20+ years my spouse and I have been together. Linens, chotchkies, appliances, electronics, and all kinds of memorabilia; how did we end up with so much stuff?
The very nice set of towels given as an engagement gift that I saved for a special occasion are still brand new. At this rate we’ll die with a 40-year-old brand new towel set! Out of the back of the linen closet and onto a towel rack, I’m reminiscing about our engagement party while drying my hands.
The next place I look for “use it or lose it” items is under the sink in the bathroom. I find a basket filled with tiny hotel shampoos, conditioners, lotions, shower caps, and shoe cleaning cloths taken from all of our travels. What made me think I should bring all of the hotel toiletries home with me? The assortment of toiletries in a fancy plastic zipper bag from Sandals Resort remind me of drinking Flip Flops with friends at the pool bar and relaxing in a big hammock watching the sun set with my love. A shower cap from Norwegian Cruise Line brings back memories of snorkeling in tropical waters and riding ATVs through a rainforest. Shampoo from a bed and breakfast in Napa Valley harkens back to a joyous family wedding.
Our basement is truly the land that time forgot. Collections of record albums, music cassettes, and VHS tapes; music and video that has been with me longer than my spouse. The nostalgia of my first album, Yes “Fragile” that I got for Christmas, the Bonnie Raitt albums that I sang along to for years, my wild 80’s hair band era, “mix” tapes thoughtfully created and gifted by friends and lovers, and grainy VHS movies and TV shows recorded by my deceased mom. A cellar full of analog memories living in a low-definition past.
Some of the cassettes and VHS recordings are irreplaceable; home movies of my family, videos of me playing in bands, cassettes mixed from studio recordings or my Tascam 4-track. Considering all the memories contained within, it’s clear that my next project will be to convert at least a portion of my analog past to the digital present. Let’s hope I can get it all done before time runs out!