Continuing my Spring Break trip to the attic.
One of the boxes I opened last week contained my baby book and autograph books from grade school (remember those?). For safe keeping, I put them away in a large plastic tub marked “Scrapbooks” and moved on.
I have to confess here that I save newspaper clippings. That’s not so strange (she said defensively). My mother saved poetry from the columns in the newspaper. I inherited a shoe box full of Edgar A. Guest. My BFF reads the newspaper thoroughly every day to clip items of interest and fasten them in a journal with her comments. I wish I were so organized.
I often keep an article of interest and put in a file folder to be transferred to a box when the folder is too fat. My ultimate plan at one time might have been to make a scrapbook or journal. I don’t know. But from the contents of the box from a few years ago that I found, it would seem I saved virtually everything Erma Bombeck or Mollie Ivins ever wrote. I easily tossed these out. I have their books now.
I obviously felt obligated to keep the obituary of every single person I knew, cartoons and comic strips I found amusing, and “years in review.” As I sorted and tossed, I stopped to read occasionally. But I made good time going through that box, feeling no sentiment, just amazement that I had saved all that junk (and moved it at least once).
Several times I came across a whole section of newspaper and had to look at each page to figure out why on earth I had saved that particular piece. I could not throw it away without knowing. That ‘s part of the illness.
Thus, I became engrossed in reading a Perspective section of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette dated in May, 2001. The paper it was printed on was huge – 14 inches across when the present issue has shrunk to barely 12. There were whole pages dedicated to books and travel. I can only guess why I saved this issue. I think it was because I had worked the crossword puzzle perfectly, something that doesn’t happen very often.
In this almost 13-year-old paper was an op-ed on the pros and cons (mostly pros) of the proposed law to ban smoking in restaurants. An increased ‘bed tax’ on the nursing homes was advancing through the legislature. A ‘100-year flood’ swelled the Mississippi River, the 4th such flood in the past 8 years. A headline promised to tell us “How Schools Can Recognize and Prevent Bullying.” And Congress was fighting over a health care issue: The Patients’ Bill of Rights (which did not pass).
Well, this stream of consciousness has gone from 70-80 year old mementos to revisiting our pre-9-11 issues. Such are the adventures in my attic. The job’s not done but I made a big dent.