Why oh why do we hang on to old stuff? Ratty Beavis and Butthead t-shirt, with shredded neckline? Lipstick of the 80’s that made us look part-robot? High-heeled shoes that were worn once, ‘that’ time when the colors teal and coral were in?
We feel a certain nostalgia and are often clinging to items that remind us of a day gone by. The older we get the quicker our memory goes, well at least those with Alzheimer’s running in our family, and though that sounds like I am trying to be funny, I mean it in the most serious way. There is a part of me that keeps that lipstick in my bathroom drawer, cluttered by a gajillion other items I’ll never use like the this bottle of Tresamme hot oil treatment, yet it remains. It’s absurd, I know. No one ever sees my hair since its mostly covered by head scarves or a wig, and it doesn’t even NEED a hot oil treatment! I have been meaning to purge, to just let it all go.
I simply cannot. I know it will feel good to rid myself of the St. John’s sweatshirt an old boyfriend bought for me, I’ll probably miss it for like a minute and would be able to make room for new, non shredded clothing. Yet I am attached. Not because I loved that guy, far from it, he barely spoke English (no judging), but because it reminds me of ‘that’ time. Up in the mountains, for the summers living a cleaner version of Dirty Dancing, living across the lake in bungalows set far away from the hotel patrons. Those silly youthful nights are remembered every time I take that sweatshirt out, since that is where I met this pretty foreigner, upstate, the second summer.
Those summers were the most outrageous I have ever spent. I totally went out of my comfort zone. True, I went with a best friend and another girl that I was friends with from high-school but we shared these new experiences for the first time, chilling out with kids from New York. They all seemed so much more knowledgeable than me in ways of flirting, hanging out, etc…and were certainly more aggressive than I’d have ever been. It was super-duper fun, all.the.time – besides trying to sleep in the dead heat where you’d sweat from just breathing – but even that was something we joked about later on.
This was the dining-room of the Davidman’s Homowack. Once, a guy I was in love with (not the foreigner) was asked to move someone’s Lexus and he asked me to drive with him! I can still remember the smell of the leather seats. All we had to do was move it from the parking area (featured here in front of the dining room) to the tennis court area right across the street. But we didn’t do that of course, we took a grand tour through the estate. It was 10 minutes of bliss. I smiled for days after. Can we say a collective “loser!”?
This was also the same kid who was trying to impress the group with a roundhouse kick, asked me to stand still, as his leg came around and I got a size 11 sneaker in my eye. Boy was I seeing stars and not the kind with a little cherub floating by either! And again, “looooooser”!
I smiled looking through all the old pictures, so many of my memories flashing before me. I was a camp counselor for 2 summers. We were lazy and silly and made lots of trouble. I met some really crazy cats there to which I am proud to say I am still friendly with today and smile when I hear their names. I memorized the words to It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock to impress Sneaker Boy. We’d eat salty french fries doused with ketchup late at night in the Tea Room. I was even given a surprise birthday party in the Pool House which served as a the guy’s sleeping quarters. Our boss, an older women, had a double pierce in one ear which at the time was the fashion, and of course I thought was ludicrous.
Of the many experiences there are some that stand out more than others. We got scared walking over the bridge late at night by cats with glowing eyes, we witnessed a dead deer, we’d watch the huge goldfish swimming in the lake as we paddled by, we played human bowling and it was the first time I ever heard of, and never in my life would try something so ugly, called a cheese roulade that was served as a Saturday Night special. It was the first time I met a transvestite or anyone told my friend -out loud anyways- that she had child-bearing hips, or witnessed a knife fight with ex-cons that were hired as kitchen help.
Memories are funny. The ones that hurt the most are often the ones that stay with us the longest. It is just as important to hold on to the funny, the good, the happy memories of one’s childhood. As parents it’s important to help create happy memories for our children.
When I see my ratty old sweatshirt these thoughts come to mind. These cherished, yet wacky memories. It’s for these reasons I hate to depart from it. It’s for these reasons we hang on to our “junk”. One of these days I’ll chuck it I’m sure, perhaps after I find some of these from Great Adventure.