The dog and I drove to Southeastern Idaho this summer to help my parents filter through a few odds and ends they’ve collected through the years. By “a few odds and ends” I mean a semitrailer’s worth. I’m not kidding. My dad bought the back half of an 18-wheeler back in early 80s because I guess he wanted a place where we could store rustic knick-knacks and also create extraordinary family memories, kind of like those swanky cabins other people owned except ours had eight flat tires and smelled like diesel.
Anyways, I’d been looking forward to clearing it out for a long time. I figured it’d give me a chance to spend some quality time with my parents while they’re still alive and lucid and able to lift heavy boxes. My enthusiasm quickly faded, however, when we started burrowing through everything. Instead of exhuming piles of old newspapers and unused chinaware, like expected, I found weatherworn toys, a small arsenal of cap guns, and a crushed assortment of seashells.
All of them mine.
And the deeper we dug, the worse it got. Stacks of warped 45-rpm records? Mine. Dozens of cringey high school love notes? Mine. A science notebook from 1985 and one very dead frog? Mine and mine.
Sure, we also extracted a bunch of other relics that were thankfully not mine, like a four-foot painting of a Spanish Conquistador (artist unknown) and a clump of camel hair coats, but their presence didn’t change the harsh reality of the situation.
I was a hoarder.
Or maybe I still am? It’s hard to know for sure since my wife said I couldn’t have my own 18-wheeler and furthermore couldn’t come home with anything more than I’d left with so I gave everything away except for the frog which replaced my car’s roadside emergency kit. Her rules, not mine.
For tax and auditing purposes, I decided to document the entire process and will share some of the highlights over the next few weeks. If you knew me back in the 70s and 80s, this would be a good time to unfriend and remove me from your social feeds. Remember the statute of limitations varies both by jurisdiction and by spouse.
(For more context, you may also want to read Flash from the Past)