A Blast From The Past

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I’d risked life and limb by cleaning out the fridge and reorganizing my bin of plastic containers. Well, pshaw. That was nothing.

Emboldened by my survival of Trial By Crisper Drawer, I foolishly bravely went where no man has gone before (or at least not for several years). Yes, I tackled our basement storage room.

I’m not kidding when I say no man has gone there. I swear, for the past few years Hubby never got closer than the doorway, from where he simply tossed stuff onto the heap. (I may be exaggerating. He might have waded into the shallow end and carefully balanced stuff on the heap.)

I wasn’t much better, though. I ventured slightly deeper into the morass to retrieve my canning jars and restock the shelves with this summer’s harvest, but the chaos struck such fear into my heart that I fled as soon as I could.

But no more.  It’s all tidy now.

The last time we organized that room, we unearthed gems like a box of clothes containing briefs Hubby must have worn in junior high. They were small enough to fit a Ken doll, and the elastic crumbled to powder when stretched. But this time we found nothing like that… and I had great fun reacquainting myself with some treasures from long ago.

Very long ago.

Case in point: My baby book, in which my long-suffering mother penned a few revealing statements: “Stopped screaming at 2 months…” and then, “At 8 months, Diane was a real good little girl for 4 days in succession.” Later she noted, “I got tired of scolding and spanking so we tipped the chairs on their sides to keep Diane off the table.”

My Grade One report card tactfully states: “Diane is a very good student.  She has a very independent little spirit which sometimes creates problems for her, but I have no doubt that she will work things out in her own way very well.”

Which of these siblings looks most likely to get into mischief?

Which of these siblings looks most likely to get into mischief?

More treasures included the teddy bear I got at 18 months old. (This was actually my second Teddy. Apparently I ate the first one. No wonder I had colic.)

Teddy then and now. He’s been through quite a few surgeries, but he’s still in one piece.

Teddy then and now. He’s been through quite a few surgeries, but he’s still in one piece.

Then there was my Mickey Mouse T-shirt from a family trip to Disney World when I was a young teen.  I actually considered squeezing into this just for laughs, but decided not to subject you to the retina-searing sight of me crammed into a too-small T-shirt.

Mickey Mouse T-shirt

Lucky I didn’t try to wear this. Poor Mickey would never be the same.

My memorabilia box also disgorged my UMZOO Pub T-shirt from university days, my Bob Seger concert T-shirt, a corsage from my Grade 12 grad, and medals and ribbons for everything from track meets to wins at the Carman Fair to archery competitions.

I’m still proud of these two: ParticipACTION's Award of Excellence and a silver medal from the Championships of the Americas Archery team event

I’m still proud of these two.

(The Award of Excellence came from the ParticipACTION program ‘way back in 1973, and the silver medal was from the archery team event at the Championship of the Americas in 2003. Yes, I realize 30 years is a lo-o-o-ng hiatus between awards. On the up side, it’s a manageable precedent – I don’t have to try for another one for 18 years or so.)

I also have every single letter and card anybody ever sent me. From Grade One valentines to angst-ridden teenage confessions to the latest Christmas letter, I’ve got ’em all. So if you ever wrote to me, beware. I have potential blackmail material.

Finding my school pictures was scariest, though. This, above all, convinces me my parents must truly have loved me. After all the misery I caused as a baby, I turned into this… and they still let me live:

The 1970s were not kind to me. Note the massive zit, dead-centre of my forehead.

The 1970s were not kind to me. Note the massive zit, dead-centre of my forehead.

The best thing about all this memorabilia is that it’s useless crap to everyone but me, and when I’m pushing up daisies it can go the landfill and never be missed.

But while I’m here, I like to dig it out every now and then… and it always makes me smile. 🙂

What’s your most treasured keepsake?

* * *

P.S. Another book cover is finished! This is the new look for Book 6:

AK-6 cover final 2015

43 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life

43 responses to “A Blast From The Past

  1. Great post. I get it. I’m writing a post now about the concept of “hoarding.” I have a GAP T-whirt with holes everywhere, but I’m not tossing it (they don’t make them like they used to). The 70’s were my favorite ten years of my life. By then, I was way past zits, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • El Tea

      Hey, badfish. Don’t you know that you are never too old for zits? I learned this sad truth while still in my 20’s. I was a nursing assistant in a nursing home at the time. Our oldest resident got a zit on her face at the ripe old age of 102. It has proven true for me. I am now 61 and I still get one from time to time. The advice to “lower your expectations” was never so true.

      Liked by 1 person

    • @badfish: Hang onto that T-shirt – it’s a classic! My step-mom once threw away one of my dad’s T-shirts that was more holes than shirt, and he was quite put out. “That was my summer T-shirt,” he protested. “It was nice and cool!”

      @El Tea: 102? OMG, now I’m really depressed. But I guess the good news is that as my close vision gets crappier, I can’t see the zits on my face anymore. Or the wrinkles, for that matter. Small mercies…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t realize you were Ron Howard in the seventies.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Keeping treasures is hard when homes break up for whatever reason. We have a steamer trunk full of memories which I think one of my daughters has. Only one of the family is settled enough in Canada to act as a home base for such things but it is somewhat less than willing. My favourite keepsake which is in that trunk would be Ella’s wedding gift from me, a hand embroidered Eskimo parka covered in blue roses. Long time ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Karen

    Loved the post, I have no idea what are in the scary boxes on top of the wardrobe, I packed them in my old flat 9yrs ago put them out of the way to deal with later and yes they are still there.
    I found a pair of my ex’s shoes the other but I did just bin them its been over 7yrs its not like his small shoes would fit my big feet.

    I’m about healed no more nurses having to get an eye full of my breasts every day or as its been for the last week or so 3times a week, not been discharged just yet though, but I’m not far off I’m in charge of it for the next 10days and then fingers crossed next Friday I never have to back, don’t get me wrong the girls have been great but I don’t want to go anymore.
    I’m gunna buy then a big box of chocolate or some flowers as a thank you when I go next week, but hand them over until I’m fully discharged hehe I’m not above bribery.

    Like you Diane I have all the letters I’ve been sent, from a teenage boyfriend (long distance romance, he was all the way in Wales to my north east England), and all the letters my mum wrote me in uni and notes she has left if I’ve stayed at hers overnight. And all the letters my on/off (in how to describe him ex doesn’t seem right as we still keep in touch) guy as he writes to me from prison.
    Mind these days not many people write its all emails and I do keep them

    Hugs to all
    And may your early Christmas fairy (the naughty or nice one, mine is always naughty) bring you your hearts desire early

    Karen xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh the 70’s .I have a matching school photo and the Participaction Award of Excellence! Apparently we were twins.
    Great book cover!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Okay, this beats anything I have kept since childhood. Over the years, relatives have sent me pictures (and early videos) of embarrassing childhood memories which I have burned or buried.

    Men tend to keep ratty old underwear despite warnings from their mothers that they will be caught in an accident with unclean undies.

    Finally, Dr. Language Guy warns you that “from whence” is redundant since whence means “from where.” Just saying…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Dr. Language Guy – I guess that’s what happens when I post in haste. I shall correct the error posthaste! 😉

      And I figure if I’m ever in an accident serious enough that somebody has to cut off my clothes and reveal my undies, the undies are gonna be unclean by then anyway. Just sayin’.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dr. Language Guy. That’s cool! Years ago I would occasionally write something (entirely unsolicited) for a CAD software newsgroup that frequented that I called Thuh Grammer Dood Speekith…with every word in the title misspelled, naturally. I would pounce on some grammatical misapplication and spew some improbable nonsense about a word origin or whatever. Lots of fun. Everyone thought it was hysterical including the moderator. But not her boss, as it turns out. Almost got us both fired when the humorless, er, individual personally called my boss and asked him if he knew what his chief engineer was *really* doing when he was supposed to be working.

      As I said, a particularly humorless individual. Well, two, counting my (former) boss. The most polite way to express my feelings would be to say that place is just one of several that I am glad I no longer depend on for my livelihood.

      Have I mentioned that I love my current gig? 🙂

      Like

  7. Who the hell saves their childhood underwear?!? I actually understand most of the other valuables marking life experiences, however, because I have a similar stash. Don’t tell just anyone, but I would pay good money to see you try to stuff yourself into that Mickey Mouse shirt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! With my luck I’d probably get stuck half-in and half-out of it. Which would be apropos, since I seem to spend a lot of my time half ‘out of it’ anyway.

      And I don’t think the underwear-saving was intentional – it was only one pair, crammed in with some other garments that were actually worthy of saving. (Or maybe they were his ‘lucky’ underwear. I don’t know and I didn’t ask. By the time we found them, the luck had definitely faded.)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. How cool you have some things from when your were a little girl. A toddler, even. And I love the pics of little you! So cute, even the blemish-on-the-forehead one. Believe me, the rest of us didn’t look any cooler at that age.

    “Retina-searing”—You crack me up. Too funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Shirley Trowell

    I would have to say it is my Teddy Bear who now is 65 years young. He lives on the top of my dresser. I am sure he still sneaks out for cookies in the middle of the night, as I find crumbs once and a while 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a lovely keepsake to have for 65 years! And it would certainly explain a lot if all those cookie crumbs came from our teddy bears. I like that explanation – I think I’ll adopt it. (Might be a little tricky to convince my waistline, though.) 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Michael

    There isn’t a post / email that I have written to you that you could use for blackmail against me. There isn’t anyone that knows me that wouldn’t simply shake their heads, laugh, prayer for forgiveness for having seen the offending message and or possibly knowing me in the first place, ask for a copy, or simply say sorry that you’ve also been subjected to me.

    Een my sister, keeper of the family archives and many photos of me has tried and to date the only public response are ‘I remember that’, ‘Yeah that’s Michael alright’, ‘what did your parents feed that boy’, from that last one you can clear see that the blame for “me” has already been shifted. Worst case I’m getting three squares a day in an ill fitting jacket.

    Loved Book 10, had 9 theories on potential ending half way through, 11 going into the last two chapters. I got as close as getting the characters names correct.

    michael

    Liked by 1 person

  11. el Tea

    Last thing first. Dang, girl!! You clean up fine! Fabulous cover! And way past the halfway mark. Only four to go when you include Book Eleven.

    My favorite keepsakes would have been my books if I still had them. I wish I could say that I don’t have them because one of my many siblings have the books instead of me, but no, alas. One of the most beloved books for the female side of the family was the Golden Book of Fairy Tales. The collection of stories were unique, collected from around the world, and not made safe or pritty for the children. Add to that the most sumptuous illustrations I’ve ever seen in a story book (by Adrianne Segur). The book was never subjected to neglect nor abuse, yet by the time we were “too old for fairy tales” the binding was badly broken and carefully repaired by our mother who stitched two layers of a beautiful brocade together and re-glued the front and back covers back in place. The book was culled by our father one Saturday when he was looking for burnable junk to toss. It was burned in the burn barrel (this was way back when that was the way you dealt with 3/4 of the household trash) before any of us knew what had happened. My dad was shocked that anyone should care, but by then it was too late. Toss won over Save. The book was by then out of print. It has since been reprinted, but with less fine print quality. The first edition has since become collectible and had our copy been neglected and forgotten instead of well used, then burned, it would be worth over ten times the value of what the slick new edition costs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a heartbreaking story! The loss of a beloved book would have been sad anyway, but to lose such a unique and beautiful edition is just tragic.

      We had the burning barrel, too, but books would never have gone there. Our entire family hoards books as if they were gold, even when they’re so worn out they have to be read by lifting out a page, reading it, and then laying it carefully back on the stack. Same with music – I have sheet music and books from the turn of the 1900s to present. None of my books have the kind of value yours did, but I love them just the same.

      And thanks for the lovely compliment! It’s amazing what lipstick, cheap plastic nails, and Photoshop can do… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You’re very brave. The last time I tried to clean out the garage something growled at me from the depths of the debris and I broke for the door. However the space still needs a purging….someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d tend to think of your withdrawal as a clever strategic retreat. ‘Live to fight another day’, and all that. My first mistake was to actually look at the stuff in the storage room. I had intended to simply bulldoze it all into garbage bags, but then the “Oh, I can’t throw that out” blues kicked in…

      Liked by 1 person

  13. One thing that I’m still proud of from school daze (there are not many, but that’s a whole other deal) is the First Division Medal from the Solo and Ensemble Contest when I was in the high school band. Our ensemble, a brass sextet, consisted of four seniors, a junior, and me, the only freshman to compete that year. And we won all the marbles and the brass ring, so to speak. Good times.

    The other thing would be my senior picture, but I’ve already talked about that. Your picture has only one zit, but I looked like Noriega in my senior picture. Fortunately, the photographer’s wife was an artist whose specialty was oil painting, and she was quite skilled at touching up juvenile delinquent mug shots, er, senior pictures. I was freaking gorgeous!

    That’s about it, really. We’ve moved too many times through the decades not to have learned to travel light. Most of my junk is already scattered through many landfills. 🙂

    Nithe progreth, thithter. You tho rock!

    Like

    • LOL! Thankth! And wow, that medal is worthy of pride! I’m hopelessly envious of anybody with that kind of musical talent. (My teenage self also envies your senior picture – there were no artists of that caliber to be had in our little backwater town. Photos from that time of my life are not pretty.)

      Liked by 1 person

    • elTea

      Sorry Noriega, your photo had to be pretty good in its final state. My (first) senior photo HAS to be the worst one ever. First of all, I have a memory for dates that is only a few millimeters long. So I didn’t know that it was photo day until we were told to stand in the photography line. I didn’t take the time that morning to shower or shampoo (Ew!), so my hair hung in greasy strands and was kept out of my face by means of a length of seam binding I found in my mom’s sewing notions drawer. I had a pastel blue dress on that made me look like I was about to disappear the rest of the way. So unconcerned was I about my appearance that I didn’t use any makeup to cover zits or to emphasize eyes etc. My folks hadn’t bothered to get me to an orthodontist yet, so my smile included fangs, not eye-teeth. On top of everything I did wrong, the new thing that year was color photos- no need for anyone to hand-color sepia toned photos and retouch zits and horrifying teeth issues. So what you saw was what you got. My photos were so bad that my tight-fisted parents didn’t even try to talk me out of doing another photoshoot.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I get that. I really do. Only seniors got the privilege of retouched photos. You just described what my pictures looked like all the other years. That’s where the juvenile delinquent mug shot comment came from. Grim, they were.

        Liked by 1 person

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