Monday, July 25, 2011

You Can't Take it With You

The dull ache asserted itself firmly in the pit of my stomach as I tossed the old scrapbooks into the recycling bag. Absurd that a few moldy sheets of paper - most of them blank - would cause such a surge of regret. A stack of photo albums four feet high quickly followed.

I assembled the scrapbooks in grade one; they were filled with bubblegum cards and newspaper clippings of the first space shuttle launch. The photo albums were scrapbooks of a sort as well. During university, I would snip interesting artwork and photos from magazines and promotional brochures; these I would slide into the albums, each page a bizarre collage.

As I attempted to create space in my library and office, I took a hard look at how much volume this sort of junk was occupying. If I didn't get rid of some of it, I'd eventually fill every available cubic centimetre of our new home. That wasn't fair to Sylvia, and even I have a tiny sense of aesthetics.

So out went the scrapbooks. I also opened up the numerous old biscuit tins, pencil cases and duffel bags accumulated from grade school to university, each filled with everything from genuine mementos to stuff I'd never use - an unopened packet of reinforcements, for example. Remember those? They adhered to the holes in your foolscap so that the pages wouldn't rip so easily from your high school binder. The price tag read 39 cents. I wonder how much they cost now, if they're sold at all.

Four bags of garbage and recycling made a significant dent. I kept the buttons, the pins, a handful of old-school plastic soldiers, cowboys and indians, and most of the stuff I made during shop class in junior high. (The cannon crafted on the metal lathe was the best of these amateur projects.)

I wasn't saddened because I was tossing away much of my past. I was saddened because doing so...wasn't saddening me. I wonder if that means I'm growing up or getting old.

5 comments:

Colin Dunn said...

Just moving on. You are now making a place in your home, heart, and mind for new mementos, new memories, and new experiences.

"Requiem For Jeffthuselah" said...

Animators use reinforcers on the registration holes at the bottom of each page, especially if the page gets used a lot like a key frame. Without the reinforcers, the page is likely to slip, causing the drawing to jump, which in turn causes an avalanche of "WORST ANIMATIOn EVAR!!1!" commentary from the Internet-based peanut gallery.

A roll of 500 reinforcers will cost roughly $10-15.

Stephen Fitzpatrick said...

I know wall space is always at a premium, but you should consider buying a thick picture frame or shadow box and mounting some of your favourite badges, pictures, clippings and what-nots in there. It'll be just like collaging again!

Earl J. Woods said...

Colin, I like that approach. Thanks.

Jeff, had I known reinforcements were useful to animators, I would have saved them for you.

Stephen, I have already crafted one such shadow box to create a diorama of battle-damaged Captain Kirk, an Orion slave girl, and a rather disturbing panel from a "CRIME DOES NOT PAY" comic book.

"Requiem For Jeffthuselah"(a) said...

Yes, well, from now on, whenever you have the urge to throw something out, obviously you should itemize the collection and post it on your blog, allowing us at least ten business days to respond and claim things before you recycle them.

Of course, if you think if I have use for reinforcers whose glue was manufactured in the Reagan era, I would have been pleased to take them knowing that the only thing they would stick to is the packaging upon which they came.

(Please note: I am attempting to appear facetious, and likely succeeding. You wondered if reinforcers have a practical use, and yes they certainly do. I already have quite a few in my desk, so I don't need any more just yet. I can always buy fresh ones if I need to.)