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Older memories

Berkeley is the first institution to request evidence that I actually have a PhD. As a result, earlier in the week, I wound up frantically scrabbling through several boxes of mementos in search of that one thin, large, flat envelope.

It wasn't in any of the boxes. I did find my college diploma, easily, in its fancy padded folder. The PhD. was in a separate pile of large, flat things.

I didn't try to immediately put everything back in order in those boxes of mementos, so as to shove them back on shelves in the closet. I've been thinking about this lifehacker guide to parting with sentimental items, and it seemed like this might be a reasonable time to spend a bit of time going through the contents of those boxes. Especially because a lot of the initial items I encountered were things that I know carry little individual sentimental value (do I really need to hold onto three of those beanbag good-luck frogs from high school rowing??).

So tonight I went through a good portion of a box that mostly contains stuff from college. Some parts were hard - especially trying to decide about long letters and getting sucked up in re-reading them. I think I've kept most of the physical letters that my brother and sister have written and sent to me, and those are ones I will continue to keep. Letters, in general, are keepers. Cards...depend.

Some parts were not so hard.

I no longer have any means to read files off of Zip disks, or floppy disks. Those disks pre-date the era when I had a digital camera, so I know there aren't any photographs on those disks. Just papers and assignments from college classes, plus my honors thesis, which is also saved to a more recent hard drive and set of DVDs (which may also go bad over time, but perhaps that is okay).

I'm keeping the mini-cassette recorder and all of the tapes, even though I know some of the material on those mini-cassettes is ridiculous and embarrassing. They will be a novelty in twenty years. I just...have no use for the action figures.

Other things were more poignant to encounter.


-The knitting instructions on the left are from a wonderful college friend. She also majored in Biology and was interested in veterinary medicine, so we took a lot of courses together and studied together. She was also an athlete (track and field), and also loved to knit, so we could relate to each other on multiple levels - especially knowing what it's like to have an over-full schedule including practices and competition and intense coursework. Over the years, she shared several mitten patterns with me. She used some of her dog's fur to knit mittens at one point, but found the mittens too warm. She also played the accordion before it was cool. Whatever she's up to these days, I know it's good stuff. I'm going to tuck these instructions in with my other knitting patterns. Good to remember M.

-The polar bear envelope is from my dear friend SJ. I pulled it out to photograph it BECAUSE it's evidence that she's been making awesome envelopes for much longer than I have been! She's still super-crafty. And clearly inspirational. :-)

-That postcard of the Pullman, WA sign is a picture of my high school youth group leader, T, kissing the sign after riding his bicycle out to Pullman. I pulled the postcard out because I think T was the first person I ever knew who rode his bike long distances. That ride out to Pullman was part of T's participation in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Team in Training program. I'd forgotten this, but the accompanying letter reminded me: T rode in honor of a French exchange student who was a part of our youth group, who died of leukemia just a year or two after his visit to the U.S. T's big ride was, of all things, the Tour de Tucson! I'm holding on to the postcard and letter from T. He is a person with a big heart, and was such an important role model and mentor in high school.

I am not sure if I will find the courage anytime soon to touch two more recent boxes, from the period beyond college, into grad school and Texas. But I am oh so glad I got to spend some time with those older memories this evening, cherishing many, releasing some back to the world.

I guess I saved a lot of newspaper clippings. I kept only two sets - one about the Seattle WTO protests, one about the Nisqually earthquake. Most of the musty pile was laid to rest in the recycling bin at last.



( 2 remarks — Remark )
Apr. 3rd, 2015 02:39 am (UTC)
One of my coworkers had a bunch of information on some zip discs, that he was trying to recover. We rapidly found that there were several generations of them, and you need the right generation, which information is rarely available with used equipment. Man was that a pain in the neck.
Apr. 3rd, 2015 11:26 am (UTC)
Plus, there was that whole "click of doom" problem with them. I learned a lot about backing up files thanks to zip disks. Spent 8 hours working on writing my honors thesis one day, then the computer froze. For some reason I'd been saving the file to the zip disc. Unrecoverable. So, into the trash they go.
( 2 remarks — Remark )

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