Thursday, 17 November 2011

A Trip Down Memory Lane or Clearing out Cupboards!

 Plans to decorate our bedroom have found me de-cluttering four wardrobes in various rooms for the past week. In the main bedroom there is a large walk-in wardrobe, the kind that, if you can't find a place for something this is where it goes, then you close the door and hope that the contents don't fall  on top of you when you next open it. I have nearly emptied it and now have to deal with the years of memories that are lying on the bed. This has taken me so long because I am sitting reading everything I pick up.

My son and daughter's primary school news jotters. I still haven't stopped laughing at the items of news.
My daughter's entry for one day in nineteen ninety three,"The queen will be getting married soon" maybe she knew something I didn't.
There is one with a drawing of me which is titled ,"My mum is..." and is followed by a list which include, short tempered, hates small furry animals, grumpy, kind , loves buying gifts, shouts a lot and finishes with,"I love my mum."
I am them surprised by what lovely writing my son had when he was very young. How did I forget that?
How do I define what goes into the bin and what stays, I can't keep everything.
School writings and drawings are put in the "to be kept box." The children will want them one day.

I didn't realise when I started this that I would be going down memory lane into the past. I am reliving sad as well as happy memories.  I came across a letter sent to me by the mother of a young friend, Lesley who had Cystic Fibrosis. I became friends with her in hospital, she was kind and funny and very very brave.
My children were four and seven  then and all this girl wanted was to be married and have a family like me. This sadly did not happen although she did achieve her dream wedding and I was there to share it with her. She passed away a few weeks after a double lung transplant from an infection her new lungs just couldn't fight off. I'm reading her mum's letter and with it she had enclosed poems written by Lesley and I just can't stop the tears from falling. Lesley believed in God and a heaven so I hope she knows I think of her often.
More letters and photos this time from two pen pals in New Zealand , they too lost their lives to Cystic Fibrosis and I read through all their letters and look once again at their photos.
I place them all  in the "to be kept" box, it somehow feels disrespectful to dispose of them.

On a happier note next is a big black bag full of my daughter's soft toys at last something to smile about. Every Christmas I always placed a small doll peeking out from the top of her Christmas stocking and as I hold each one, all still brand new, not aged by time. I think of the joy on her face when she saw them for the first time.
I hope my granddaughter will have fun when I give her the dolls that belonged to her auntie.
I place them in the pile "to be kept" they're too good to dispose off.

Now for the books .I am hoping to buy a bookcase so all the hardbacks are definitely staying. I have found lots of book I want to read again if I ever have the time. I think  I have every diet and exercise book ever written, indeed if I took their advice I would be very slim and very fit, but you just know by how perfect the books are that only the first few pages have ever been read and I'm still looking for the perfect diet book,one that tells me chocolate and wine in copious amounts will help me loose weight.

When my children left home they left me with all the stuff they might need one day but didn't know when that day might be. Three crashe helments, leather biking suit, golf clubs,books,cds, videos, boxes of uni books.
My husband tells me to inform them both that they either come and get what they want or it all goes to the dump. I am far too soft for that and it all goes in the pile ,"to be kept."

When I was a little girl I loved plundering in my auntie's big cupboard. She was a Sunday School teacher and a Girls Brigade leader and her cupboard was full of all kinds of  interesting things. Arts  and crafts materials, children's books, boxes of pens and pencils, colouring sheets. I would spend hours in there looking for goodies and at the end of the day going home with a bag full of playthings rubbish. I now realise why my mum would groan as I walked in the door with yet another full bag. I now know it was my auntie's method of de-cluttering. Now if I could find a gullible child I'd be laughing.

Back to my sorting out, you see, I'm easily distracted.  The next boxes are from my Mother-in-law's house, she passed away in January and I had to empty her house. It is very difficult sorting through someone else's possessions and I had been through the same thing a few years ago with my own mum. How can you dispose of things which don't belong to you? The items in the boxes were cards and photos that I didn't know what to do with. She had kept every birthday card she had been given by my children and us and I just cannot part with anything that a child has painstakingly scrawled their name on no matter how many years ago it was. I have kept these cards and disposed of the rest. There are wedding photographs of people neither my husband nor I know but they go back into the box as I don't feeel right destroying them, maybe I should harden myself up and not be so sentimental.

Although I have saved quite a lot for the "to be kept" pile there are six black bin bags going to the dump so I don't suppose I have done too bad.
I never thought that clearing out cupboards could be so emotionally draining but I have been through a range of different emotions during this clearout.
We all have photos and cards and special things we cannot part with, I have jewellery which belonged to my mum, aunt, mother-in-law and her mother, that I will probably never wear and I hope I am never in a postion where I have to take them to "Cash For Gold." it will eventually be my daughter who will have to deal with them but by that time they will no doubt be back in fashion.
What do you have that you could never be parted from? I'd love to know.
In memory of Lesley I'm  leaving you with one of her poems sent to me by her mum, it has been lying in a drawer for too long.

                                              I've Tried My Best   by Lesley Hepburn.

                                              When put to the test, I knew I would,
                                               Try to do the best I could.
                                               To throw my tiresome troubles away,
                                               Push them aside for another day.

                                               In my life I've tried my best,
                                               Tried to keep up with all the rest.
                                               When things go wrong as the often do,
                                               I count my blessings, one and two.

                                              Life has had it's ups and downs,
                                              But I'll struggle on and I'll come round.
                                              For to achieve one's goals in life is tough
                                              You have to keep trying, for it's never enough.




  1. Aw, what a beautiful poem. Very moving.

    I think you've done very well indeed. I decided to sort out just one drawer last weekend. I put the contents on the bed, sorted through old photos, letters, paintings my daughter had done at school ... and ended up with only one pile and that was the 'To Be Kept' pile. I couldn't bear to throw any of it out. :)

  2. Now you've got me dabbing my eyes, I loved it and sorting out is never easy, we all want to keep things forever! Thanks for sharing these lovely precious memeories. xx

  3. Shirley you sound just like me! Can't part with anything from my children's schooldays.
    Pauline ,you're emotional like me too.
    Thanks for reading folks!

  4. What a poignant poem and trip down memory lane. I've moved so many times that I've purged and purged again, so that I sort of have a 'bare bones' of belongings. But I'm sure my Mum's house back in Nova Scotia is stuffed full of old writings and such!

  5. What a beautiful poem, and all the more beautiful when you know the story behind it. I can't part with anything (I'm sure you won't be shocked to read this!). I like to feel the past in my hands, to make sure I was really there and to somehow find a way back to it. Even if it's only for a few moments.

    Lovely post, thank you x

  6. Thanks Talli,Your mum probably has as much of yours as my kids left with me.but that's what Mum's are, gaurdians of our children's memories.

    Joanna,Thanks, yes the poem is lovely and all true,she did indeed do her very best.
    Yes I would expect you to keep everything ,I told you you are Romantic you can't deny it!

  7. Anne - I think we are having some parallel moments in our lives. Your story touched my heart! I, too, have been going through closets, boxes and bags, it must be that time of year. As the year is coming to a close and the holidays are upon us, we want to recapture moments past. Maybe, it is our loved ones who have passed on, telling us it is time to go through our treasures to remind us of all the good we have in our lives. My list of things 'to be kept' is quite long, I can't bear to part with them. Thanks for sharing your story and the poem. Hugs, Maeve

  8. Oh my! Anne. I felt like I was sitting on the bed next to you, I had tears in my eyes reading this post. Big hugs for you and such lovely memories of your dear friends. Was surprised to hear of the two in New Zealand. Well, now you have another.) And such a beautiful poem.
    I have to admit I am a terrible hoarder, mostly of writing material and crafts, and photos.
    Thankyou for sharing, take care.

  9. I too have bags of cards and photos that I can't throw away and now they've been added to since my Mum died. That poem is very moving. I think I already told you that my stepson died of Cystic Fibrosis over 20 years ago now. Take care.

  10. Maeve, thank you, I think underneath we are all much the same we all have memories both happy and sad.I like your thinking that our loved ones who have passed on are guiding us into looking through our treasures and remembering them.I have more to do today and there're will no doubt be more tears.

    Patientdreamer, I'm glad you like it.I had forgotten you lived in New Zealand, it's strange that it keeps cropping up in my life, I always said as a wee girl I was going to emmigrate there after we did a class project on the country, as you can see I never quite made it.Beautiful place to live, you are so lucky.

  11. Hi Rosalind,Oh the amount of cards I have,I have cards I sent my hubby when we first met,cards I have received when leaving jobs, made by the children I looked after,I could go on..each one takes me right back to the day it was given and I can't part with them.
    I am sorry to hear of your stepson, no you didn't tell me. Back in the days before CF patients were segregated from each other I knew a lot of young people mostly in their teens and twenties,I was the oldest not being diagnosed until I was 28ys (long story) Everyone I knew with CF has now passed away, It is still ending the lives of so many of our young people.
    These days to prevent cross infection all Cf patients are kept separate in hospital which makes getting to know anyone with the same condition immpossible.

  12. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and commenting. I do love my shepherds! I was looking back through some of the pictures and I forgot how cute Calypso was as a puppy - hence the name of monkey. I'll be watching for pictures of your dog. Donna

  13. Thanks for sharing that. I'm not sure that segregation is the best thing to do for people's morale but I know how vital it is for you to not pick up infections. Take care.

  14. I have a bookcase that I could never be parted from. It's handmade in antique pine and has my name on a plaque. It's the most thoughtful gift I've ever been given and I promised the giver I would keep it with me.

    There's a Liebster Blog Award for you on my blog, pop a long and collect it when you have a moment.
    Pam x

  15. Pam your bookcase sounds gorgeous.I'm hoping to buy one for my books soon.
    Thank you for my blog award,my very first one,it is so kind of you and thanks for your lovely comments on you blog.


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