The Clampetts

We spend the first half of our lives accumulating things and the second half discarding them.

Oh my

Preparing for the second half

We spend the first half of our lives accumulating things and the second half discarding them.


Mike and I are in the second half. The future shortens, and we prepare by cleaning.

Supporting capitalism

Family growth naturally resulted in the amassing of possessions as interests and needs changed. Objects unique to our younger minds (e.g. cooking gadgets) become space wasters. Mike and I kept life simple as a necessity, either moving frequently or living in limited space. The longer we stayed, the more we collected.

Time to downsize

Our most recent move to a larger space to share with ED and the boys allowed us to downsize our personal life. Fortuitously, ED is approaching the discard stage of life.

Now Mike and I find ourselves on a leisurely cross-country trip, ultimate destination Chicago and the birth of a new grandchild. We grasped the opportunity to load the car with items to distribute along the way. I am reminded of the old TV show The Beverly Hillbillies.

Gifting our memories

In Burlington, Iowa, we will donate an antique sleigh crazy quilt and child’s sled to the historical society. We used the 14.5 pound quilt for years when we traveled, making up beds on the floor for the kids if needed. The quilt holds dust from Europe.  

The quilt recalls my father’s story about the coldest day in his life, when the family sleigh flipped over on the way to Christmas with the grandparents. The quilt holds my father’s skin cells and those of his family.

The sled displays my father’s initials; I imagine him as a child, carving them into the wood. I am thrilled that I can leave these items to be appreciated by many people.  

SC now lives in a spacious condo: time for her to decide how to store possessions so meaningful that she hasn’t looked at them in 20 years.

There are boxes labeled C-boy’s baby. A few items of sentimental value and limited practicality that he and P-DiL can decide to use or not.

No, thank you

My mother pushed items onto me because . . . they had been in the family, so and so loved this, this is valuable. If any of those reasons were true, I pondered but did not express, why were the items sitting in someone’s basement? I resolved to let my kids honor their own memories.

Life to live

So, we hand over these objects with love. We will take time to recall the memories together but trust that the items will have served their purpose if no longer needed. Then whoever holds the object can decide what to do with it.

I have Life to live.