Packing boxes

I’m getting my own place in September and in advance of the move I’ve started cleaning out my room.  Getting rid of the junk mail, old pieces of dental floss, movie ticket stubs, extra buttons and all the other flotsam that accumulates in the corners of my life when I’m busy.  So far I have filled two Hefty bags with junk and I am glad to be rid of the waste. This is always the easiest part of moving: clearing out the obvious trash.

Other things are more difficult to sort. For the past several weeks I have been meaning to pack up my bookshelf, but somehow I keep putting it off.  I know that the quickest part to box up will be the books. Some are definite giveaways (I’ve read The DaVinci Code plenty of times) and the rest will come with me to the new apartment.

Hardest to cull through will be a brown and green box that’s also on the bookshelf, next to the Shel Silverstein collection my dad used to read to me when I was a kid.  I bought that polka-dotted hat box when I was 18, and the first thing I put inside were high school graduation cards. Next came various good-bye letters from my hometown friends.  I have moved six times since then, and I have never looked through the box.  It’s just too painful.

After every Christmas I stack up the cards my family sends me, close my eyes, and toss them in the box.  In the aftermath of my  break up with Carter, I pulled his love notes off my bulletin board and rounded up the sweet letters his family wrote me and tossed them in the box.  I am sure there are notes from other romances in there, probably from college friends too.

The worst part of  that stupid box is that it will hold the last birthday card my grandparents ever send me. Maybe it already does. Fuck.

I still haven’t decided if I’m going to sort through the box before I move.  It’s going to hurt so much to see how much weaker my grandmother’s handwriting was on my 23rd birthday card than on my 18th.  Plus I feel like it’s too soon to purge my old love letters.  Definitely, it’s too hard to acknowledge that the connection with most of my childhood friends has been lost.

Part of me is tempted to toss the box, unopened, off a cliff somewhere. But I know I would regret that someday. Maybe this weekend I should just spill open the box. Maybe I will find some happy memories, some unexpected joys there. But probably I will not. Probably I will wait for the box to overflow before I open up, and take a look at the ghosts it holds.

*This post was inspired by’s amazing writing prompt generator: You should try it!


2 responses to “Packing boxes

  1. Jason Sargeant

    I can totally relate! I moved eight times between graduating high school and leaving for the Navy. And it got oh so much easier every time I had to from the less and less stuff. = ) I’m too the point now that everything I need will fit into Edgar. All my military issue stuff is a different story… lol

    You say it’ll be painful, but it’s been just the opposite for me. If I stumble across something like this, (the last time it happened was not too long ago, and it was a “I’ll love you forever” note from the ex-wife), it brought back the great feelings of when that note was written. It actually made my day by making remember all the good times we had. Your past is what made you the beautiful person you are now. If it wasn’t for all the happy tears and broken hearts, past friendships and crazy times you had, who knows who and where you’d be!

    You should totally go through the box. Or wait for it to overflow. Either way, the day you decide to go through that thing will be an awesome day. ; )

  2. I sort of disagree. I mean, I think the day you decide to go through it will be great, yes, but as one who has a very similar box in my closet, I keep that stuff put away. I know that one day (probably when I’m old and gray) I will love reading back through everything. I’ll be so glad and grateful that I hung on to all of it. Right now I’m even glad that I have a designated place for all that stuff. But there’s nothing compelling me to dig it all up. So I’m going with the old adage of “let sleeping dogs lie.”

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