I’ve been packing up my old house because it sold.
Boxes here. Crates there. Nowhere to sit because the car is filled.
I’ve asked myself the same question over and over again.
Do I save it or not?
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I know it seems like junk to everyone else.
So much easier to throw away.
But to me, well … it’s a keeper.
I’m not a pack rat or fan of clutter. But how do I throw away my mom’s old dollhouse, or my children’s old toy wagon, or the old catcher’s gear my dad bought me when I was 6 years old?
I can’t. So I’ve packed it all up again and I’m taking it to my new home or storage unit, including:
My old ball gloves
The Orlando Cepeda first baseman’s mitt needs oil. My old Rawlings Fastback glove had a spider in the fingers’ part. I still have the catcher’s gear that my Dad bought me for my sixth birthday because I was a catcher for our Veteran’s Bridge team in the school’s Ranger League. Small chest protector and leg pads. I wonder what happened to the mask? Probably lost after it was used as a goalie’s mask for a garage hockey game. Or a Halloween costume. I was the only kid in the neighborhood who decked out in full catcher’s gear for the neighborhood sandlot game.
Grandpa’s old roulette wheel
Grandpa Tockstein made it by hand when he was a volunteer at the old Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Centreville. It needs a new coat of red paint and the steel base needs polished. The “click, click, click …” sounds of that spinning wheel brings back memories of sweet wins at the old church’s cake stand on parish picnic day.
Kids’ first bikes
My daughter named her first bike, “Sally.” It’s pink. My son’s red tricycle has nicks and dents and scars because he was a boy. Their old red wagon is coming, too. Still in good shape. Perfect for a grandchild someday. And those bumpy walks along a chatted side street to the nearby park to feed the ducks.
Autographed sports photos
I didn’t keep them all. But if it was ever touched and signed by Stan Musial, it will always have a special place in my home and heart.
My late Aunt Marie was into scrapbooking way before it was popular. I have photos from every stage of my life, including my First Communion class photo. So sweet and innocent. White shirt. Blue bow tie. A little Vitalis on my red curls. If only those old nuns knew what we were giggling about behind their backs!
Mom’s old dollhouse
Her hands badly deformed by arthritis, Mom worked on it tirelessly during her final years with us. She wanted to build a dollhouse for her granddaughters. It’s unfinished so I’ve been holding on to it in case one of them wants to finish it.
There’s one from the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis that somehow has not been damaged over several moves. And one from City of East St. Louis “All American City” history.
When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, my mom was crushed. As the story goes, I asked her to write a sympathy card to the Kennedys and she did. A few months later, we received two black and white photos from the White House with an attached note. One of the photos is signed by JFK. I’ve never checked if it is an authentic signature or not. I don’t want to know. It’s always been real to me.
Old music albums
They’re scratched, warped, musty. I have not owned a turntable in several decades. But I can’t trash them.
They remind me of when we listened to KSHE 95 in my mom’s old Plymouth Valiant, thanks to the FM converter installed below the ash tray.
Busch Stadium II souvenirs
On one of the two red, authentic stadium seats, there’s a dried piece of what looks like gum that I’ve never cleaned off. The large, framed photo of Ted Simmons once was on the wall of the fancy Stadium Club at the old stadium. I’m not sure why I paid $300 for that blurry photo. Weak moment, just before they tore down the old stadium.
Photos. Trinkets. Hats. Jewelry. Furniture. I packed up yesterday again for today and tomorrow. All with a story that I couldn’t throw away or leave behind.