Trinket, Trash or Treasure

images-9“Do you really needs this?” My mother stared at me and pointed to Mr. Iceberg, a life-sized stuffed polar bear I’d received the previous Christmas.

Heck yeah, I need it. That’s what I thought, anyway. At the age of nine I hadn’t reached the heights of sarcastic repartee I now possess.

“I’ll bet some kid in an orphanage would play with it more than you do.” She arched a judgemental brow. “You have lots of things. They don’t.”

Guilt reared its nasty head and we both looked around my  well-stocked bedroom of stuffed animals, games and Barbie dolls. A moment later, I waved goodbye as Mr. Iceberg disappeared down the hallway, on his way to be shipped away with other “clutter” my mother wanted out of the house.

Now that I’m an adult and homeowner, I understand where Mom was coming from. Yet the scars of the long-lost Mr. Iceberg incident are still with me. Yet when it comes to what stays and goes, the buck  stops with me.

One thing I’ve had for thirty-four years is a Snoopy soup mug. Received as a Christmas gift back in ‘79, it still sits in the forefront of my kitchen cabinet. When I use it, I think about my old college IMG_20131110_090010roommate who, upon my return from winter break with the mug in tow, expressed her love for cartoon beagle.  Our never-ending Joe Cool jokes became the source of endless laughter. The mug also makes me remember being away from home for the first time, missing both my boyfriend and my dog. If my daughters are present when I us this mug, I remind them that it’s special and I don’t expect it to go to Goodwill when I die. More likely, I’d expect to see it on Antique Roadshow.

IMG_20131110_085828Another treasured memento, one I still use weekly and have had for over thirty years, is a coffee cup I purchased on a weekend trip to Boston. Drawn to the adorable dog image, the French words also held great appeal. I’m pretty sure there are primates who have better foreign language abilities than me. That mug taught me a few words of French! Now when I fill it with steamy coffee, I think about those visits to Boston and that stage of my life while working at my first job after college.

My mother once tossed my W-2’s in the garbage during tax season. Another time she threw out a check that my step-dad thought would serve us better if deposited at the bank. Sure, I respect that her house is neater than mine, yet I wonder if she ever pauses to ask herself, “Is this a trinket, trash or treasure?” before she decides something needs to go.

What’s in your closets?



18 responses to “Trinket, Trash or Treasure

  1. of course you need that bear dear… We all need these things. Fab post as always

  2. I should show my husband your post. I keep everything. I have a bright – well not so bright anymore – yellow flower power/peace sign sleeping bag from probably 1973. It’s in the attic, wrapped in plastic, although I’m sure the mice are happy I’ve kept it. I know I’ll never use it again, none of my kids wanted anything to do with it, but I have a lot of cherished memories of teenage sleepovers in that sleeping bag. It’s a keeper!

    Great post, Sharon 🙂

    • Oh that’s so great! I can picture the sleeping bag. You know, some things just demand to be kept.
      I do actually toss a lot, though. I have two hat boxes where I keep special papers, like the girls report cards or programs from shows they’ve been in. But so much gets tossed. I try to balance it. Try being the operative word. Thanks for stopping by, Debbie!

  3. The more mature I get, the more I rid myself of stuff. Stuff in the closets. Business clothes I will NEVER wear again. Decorative items I no longer display. 12 boxes of Christmas decorations when I only use half of them. Too many cooking toys. And too much stuff cluttering my brain. Clear the house, clear the brain. Must make a Goodwill run soon…

    Thanks for leading us to a good discussion, Sharon. Sorry you didn’t keep your bear. I have my original teddy bear, as well as my husband’s. No one but a kid is going to get there family treasures.

  4. Whoa, baby! You’re talking to a sister saver here. I don’t save everything, but there are odd little things I can’t part with, like the last remaining chess piece of the abstract chess set my daughter simply HAD to have for her ninth birthday; like the feathers and acorns and pretty stones my kids gifted to me through their childhoods; like the cracked plastic Brownie change purse I used to carry dues money in that still hangs on the corkboard in my office. One of my most prized possessions, however, is a velvet matchbox, a remnant of my mother’s sweet sixteen. One the red velvet cover is a picture of can-can dancers–the kind that, when you move it back and forth, animates it. Remember those? Their kick-line still kicks, and all the matches are still within. I used to gaze at it incessantly as a child; I honestly don’t know why I was so enthralled, except it’s so pretty.
    About five years ago, I found the matchbox in my mother’s jewelry box. I almost cried! I brought it to her and said, “I didn’t know you still had this!” She only just found it, had totally forgotten about it. “Can I have it?” She gave it to me with a wave of her hand. She didn’t want to get rid of it, but she didn’t want it either.
    My treasure, her trash.

  5. Oh that’s such a great story, Terri! Given how it reappeared, I think you were meant to hold onto it for a long time. Better tell your daughters that someday one of them will be responsible for holding onto the treasure.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I have a stuffed bear that my friend bought for me over ten years ago on a trip to London. I once contemplated giving it to my niece, but she wouldn’t appreciate it as much as me. Great post.

  7. I still have my Peanuts Cookbook – bright pink and green – from when I was little. Used it with my son and hope to use it with my granddaughter. It has recipes like “Snoopy’s Pizza”, “Charlie Brown’s Brownies” & “Good Grief…Wilted Lettuce Salad”!

    • How’d I miss that Peanuts cookbook years ago? How nice you’ve kept it. “Good Grief….Wilted Lettuce Salad” LOL! The Peanuts gang is pretty special. Gotta Love Charles Schultz. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  8. I am absolutely horrible at getting rid of things. Horrible. A lot of my stuffed animals from when I was a kid are in a box in the basement for when I get nostalgic I can just pop it open and see them. How can I ever say goodbye to Mr. Bear? I also have a few mugs sitting on the shelf- they all have some special meaning (a trip to London, my favorite metal band, my first Disney World trip)… I don’t use them, I’m too scared that they will break. Lol Hum, I’m starting to think I might need some help decluttering. :p

    • Lol, I’ll send my mother over to your house. She’d be saying “Bye, bye Mr. Bear!” On second thought, let’s keep her away. There’s got to be a happy medium in this whole throwing out scenario, right? Good luck with your decluttering 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Oh, I so pity my children when I eventually kick the bucket! I still have my Noddy books from when I was little, a Roy Rogers wallet, and my house is full of mementoes of my life. Lovely post Sharon.

  10. My dad was in the air force family and we moved around so much I don’t have any treasures from my childhood. When my children were born, I found myself looking for a few of those old toys I loved. I picked up a Fisher Price Music Box Pocket Radio (that plays the 12 days of Christmas) at an antique store, and a little tikes rolls-but-doesn’t-fall-over-guy at a tag sale, and the farmhouse that folds and you can carry around, I picked up on Ebay. So, I guess I’m the opposite of a tosser.

    That polar bear sounds heavenly. – maybe he’s on Ebay???

    Thanks for the fun post!

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