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    DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    by Mary Beth Ellis
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Sam The Newborn Nephew was enjoying a nice Pack-n-Play- based nap last month when he awoke the sounds of his brothers and all their posse enjoying a playgroup Christmas party.  He stirred, announced his displeasure at having been awakened from his late-morning pre-lunch nap, and found himself lifted into the air by a stranger.

It was the Mr. Mom of the group, a perfectly safe daddy who had certainly held him before, but this mattered not to Sam, for not only was this person Not Mommy, he didn't even have the courtesy to have boobs.  There followed much wailing.

I'm pretty much doing the same thing, sitting as I am amidst a sea of cardboard and bubble wrap.  We've moved three miles away; it might as well be three planets.  I hate all my belongings right now.  They are not useful objects or cherished mementos; they are crap to be heaved outside on a day when the high temperature is 16 and winds are out of the East at Double Hurricane.

At the same time, there's a sense of desperation in not having at hand the smallest, most necessary items which I take for granted on a daily basis.  Where's the dental floss?  Has anyone seen the drinking glasses? Or a pen?  But you, eighty-seventh box of Christmas ornaments... you can go f-off.

Today I collapsed the contents of two totelockers and an enormous plastic tub into one still-aggravating container.  The second-place plaque for the Cheviot Fraternal Order of Eagles "God, Flag, and Country" speech contest, really?  I have carefully preserved the September 1987 issue of Sports Illustrated for Kids... why?

The endless pile of self-generated newspaper clippings made slightly more sense; there was a time when I needed 47 copies of an article entitled "Seniors Proudly Anticipate Pleasant Prom Party" while submitting writing samples for a newspaper job after graduation.  As we all know how healthy the industry is now, I suppose I should be grateful that I never really entered it; in the meantime, I blame all alliteration, ever.  But... this 8x12 framed snapshot of my high school's 1995 Mock Trial team?  The hell?

It helps that I am currently not on speaking terms with my brother school.  The plastic cups, the stuffed leprechaun bears, the Officially Licensed index cards... toss, toss, toss.  If it didn't serve in my freshman dorm room or function as a campus-only ornament, out into the cold it goes.

This is a wholly unfamiliar sentiment.  As a weepy history minor, it's programmed into my DNA to keep it all.  I lived for twenty years at the same address, and, when I left my parents' house, the Crap Collection did not.  Result:  Thirty-two year's worth of empty binders and the power cord for the MP3 player I owned two MP3 players ago.  Every other move has been made piecemeal, or with only the benefit of such bare necessities as the secondary filing cabinet and a box of cassingles featuring Linear.

I suppose I kept most of it to confirm to myself that I was kind of good at some things, once; the third-place plaque for a writing competition I don't even remember entering stands as testimony that every now and then, in my best hours, even if in the flower of my youth, I rose to the level above Participation Trophy.  Maybe I just want to leave behind proof that I was... you know... here.

Then again, that proof weighs something, and takes up space which may be better dedicated to liquor.  I shall re-box on.

Goodwill run at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com

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Reader Comments (11)

[...] post: Purge « Blonde Champagne January 7th, 2010 in plastic drinking glasses | tags: christmas, collapsed-the-contents, contents, [...]

I would just be delighted if I could convince my husband that we really don't need the 25 year old Encyclopedia Britannicas anymore, unless we're using them to hold the Christmas tree stand steady or to press flowers.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstarnarcosis

Did I tell you what a niece did during one of her recent moves? She took digital photos of the "crap/stuff" and scanned the documents. Keep the electronic versions and send the originals (that take up space) out with the garbage man.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHunter House Mom

Good idea, Mom. We're donating just about everything that goes, and your son agreed to let me put his high school jacket patches in a shadowbox for his man cave. I think I'll do the same with parts of my wedding dress, as I certainly don't plan on wearing it again :)

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Please tell me it has a section on how someday we might have computers that fit in a single room.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMB

If it makes you feel any better MB, I will be moving again this year. I am fairly sure, given the construction fence in my front yard, that the road widening will be done this year. That said, I am starting to purge now. I found my old footlocker, that I thought was empty, has my original hot pot from Regina. I can't being myself to throw it out, so off to Goodwill it goes. Among other things. I feel your pain. I have several boxes of newspaper clippings, most of your writing but I do think I am going to scan them and keep them electronically, if you are okay with that. I suppose since we've celebrated the 10 yr reunion that I can get rid of every clipping with a pict or byline of anyone I ever knew personally.

I've also got some of those darn plastic ND cups too. I think they can be recycled now too.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelle Belle

Seeing as I threw away everything but 2 copies, and I'm the one who wrote it? Yeah, you're officially excused.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Hubs and I are slowly going room by room and "keeping, donating, tossing" the crap out of our house, which we want to sell. Eventually - you know, when we don't owe more than it's worth.

Phtt. If we haven't seen it, used it, thought of it, OUT IT GOES. Man, it feels good to get rid of crap, doesn't it?

January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne from Iowa

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac" rel="nofollow">"Your house is a pile of stuff with a cover on it" :)

January 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

I've done some half-successful purging myself over the last month. I say half because *some* stuff went out, other items just got reboxed and restacked. Trying to work through those things now. But it was one nice thing about having company, it forced us to do that just to make room! :-)

January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeremiah The B-I-L

You darn well better be keeping that pic of mock trial - you'll want that when I'm famous!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie
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