Years of Memories, One Piece of Trash at a Time

After taking Alex to college, I resolved to clean his room. It’s full of typical teenage junk he’s collected over the years, but mostly with his door shut, I haven’t looked at it in years. Alex knew this was coming; he took the stuff that was important to him, and I promised to store memories for him like his dragon collection. The important things will still be there.

I brought a big green trash bag upstairs; I hit the bathroom first because it was easy. Astringents and old toothpaste tubes were easy to throw away. Then to his study; throw away scraps of paper and old dinged up pencils. Then to his bedroom; I threw away a broken boombox.

Then I opened a drawer, and years of memories poured out with a simple scrap of paper. When Alex was very young; 3 or 4 perhaps, he brought home a little plaster kit from Montessori school. We made a little muddy patch outside, and then I made our dalmation Sampson step in it. Then we let the mud dry and poured in the plaster.

The result was an absolutely hideous plaster cast of Sampson’s foot. Ugly as all get out, but that didn’t matter really. We made it together. He took it to school where a teacher made a construction paper sign that said, “Samson’s Paw by Alex”. She misspelled the dog’s name.

Last night when I opened the drawer, there was the contruction paper sign. “Samson’s Paw by Alex.” A scrap of paper, really. Not even in my son’s handwriting, and no reason not to throw it out. I stood there for maybe 5 minutes, but 14 years passed before I opened the big green trash bag and dropped it in.

This cleanup is going to take longer than I thought.

6 thoughts on “Years of Memories, One Piece of Trash at a Time

  1. I didn’t get into his room tonight, but the weekend is approaching. Physically I could clean his room and study in one weekend, but not emotionally.

    I’m proud of my young man, but I miss my baby.

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  2. Awww…Taylor isn’t even in high school yet and I’m getting weepy just thinking about her going off to college. Of course, since she’s already informed us she’s going to live with us forever, I guess I don’t have to worry. It’s Rob that gets weepy over that one.

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  3. There was an update – I finally reached him at school. I found the plaster cast – as ugly as ever – and Alex told me his memory is that *I* made it while he watched. Could be; I’m not artistic.

    After a very brief discussion, we decided to throw it out anyway. 😛

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