Only along with the photos, I'm turning up some far more interesting items, like letters from my first summer at camp. And most of this stuff I didn't know existed anymore, much less remembered. It's like my own version of Found magazine, happening right here in my living room.
I'm probably the last of my line, so unless I get really famous in the next year or so, before the Armaggedon forces us back into caves, this is it: the five of you (along with a few lookyloos on Flickr) will be the last people to lay eyes on this stuff.
Part of me wants to do something with it: write a book about it or sell it off in some crazy way on eBay or write a book about how I sold it off in some crazy way on eBay. Most of me, however, wants to set a torch to the lot. You'd never know it to look at my neatly labeled file folders (in their corresponding neatly-ordered hanging files) but I'm not a finisher. Which is bad, since as the last of my line I've become the repository for over a hundred years' worth of family crap, and my ancestors were all packrats. Some of it is kind of cool, like these goofy letters or the expired his-'n'-her passports of my grandparents or the series of Polaroids at Benihana, where we always pretended it was someone's birthday so we could get the chefs to sing to us in Japanese and take our picture.
But most of it is, quite frankly, crap of the sort that weighs one down. For every cool snap of Mom & Dad tooling along in a boat on
Lake Michigan some lake outside of Beaumont, TX, looking like Jack & Jackie, there are stacks upon stacks of badly framed, blurry shots of unidentified long-forgotten family members. For every fab snap of Mom holding her giant pudding, there are a contact sheet's worth, make that four contact sheets' worth, of culled shots. What do I do with ten yellowed, decaying copies of me in a rabbit fur coat with Linda, one of the nursing students who served as babysitter over the years, when I don't really even want one of them? Do I try to track Linda down, see if she's remembers me, strike up a correspondence? Or do I pitch the lot into the recycle bin and move on?
For the time being, I think I'll shift my sludge onto the giant electronic scrapbook that is the Interweb. I'll spare y'alls the worst of it; I see no reason why you'd care about my mother's report cards. All 12 of them. Plus college.
But as much as I'm annoyed and stirred up and dragged down by the emotional sinkholes piled up on my floor, I can't just throw them all out.
I might miss them.