That Was Easier than I Thought It’d Be

A display of old books, some of which were found at the local dump when I was in grade school.

Even as a child I liked old things. I especially liked things with history and a story. I jumped at any chance to ride with my grandma on her trip to the dump outside her small town in the midwest. It wasn’t really a “dump” but rather some large trash bins for the local residents to deposit their weekly trash. People would leave stuff in front of the dumpsters that were treasures not trash (at least in my eyes).

I would take any nice books home with me. I loved to look at the copyright dates inside to see their age. Those books were so special to me that I even took them to school for show-and-tell. What I wanted the most from these “treasures” was to know their history. Who took the time to leave those books out by the trash dump? Did they imagine that a little girl would take them home and still have them as she approaches middle age? I [still] love to look at the old Geography book and see the fancy pen that the student used to write his name so long ago. Did he like learning like I did or did he wish he were somewhere else as his teacher droned on and on about the Geography of South America?

I know I must have been young when I found these treasures because I was around 10 or 11 when I bought a clawfoot tub discovered in my grandma’s garage. I imagined that big cast iron tub would one day go in my house where I would have happy children and a sweet family.

That clawfoot tub I bought when I was 11 years old.

The clawfoot tub followed me throughout my adventures into marriage (OK it didn’t follow me; I begged and borrowed to have some nice strong men move it around for me everywhere I needed it to go…hmmm that clawfoot tub could be a story in itself). But, I digress. I have a different story to share today … the story of the orange truck.

Somehow when I was a child I came into possession of a toy orange moving truck. I don’t even remember the circumstances in which I came by it, but I do know when I got it that I had imagined that my maternal grandfather had worked for this moving company at one point. Alas, he worked for a different company. This was apparently just a toy that my father had never really played with as a child (you see, I liked to enmesh my maternal and paternal families into one in my child brain…that’s how I made sense of things back then anyway). I tried to find out any stories about the truck but no one had any or thought it was interesting enough to remember. Thus, I have no idea of the orange truck’s history, story or if it was even ever loved. Maybe it was just never dealt with so it ended up in storage and I wound up with it since I so desperately wanted a piece of my family’s story.

The esteemed display of the orange truck.

But, here’s the deal. I don’t even like the truck. Yep, I said it, I don’t even like it at all. First of all, it’s really orange [!] and for some reason I have guilt every time I see it. Why have I kept it all these years? Well, I thought maybe my “future” son/grandson would like it…it could have been a girl, I’m not trying to be sexist, it’s just what I imagined. I don’t know how I imagined the conversation coming about but I imagined he would one day say, “Hey, mom/grandma that is a cool orange truck with obvious sentimental history, can I display it lovingly in my room?” Seriously, the imagined conversations in my head are really strange sometimes.

The guilt I feel every time I look at it must be because I don’t even like the big orange thing. I’m trying to keep a piece of family “history” that I don’t even like to look at. Well, this “William Morris Project” that I found through Jule’s website is changing me and that old thinking…I resolve to not have anything here in the house that I do not deem beautiful or useful. This orange truck is neither beautiful nor useful, thus it must “go” from its esteemed perch in my office.

Today, I actually asked my son if he wanted the truck and my daughter suggested that it would make a great “guy” truck. Both of them got excited about using the truck to play with. They play “guys” with their little Fisher Price boys and girls and other little toys that make it into the guy box. So, this truck is destined to be played with and enjoyed by my children. If one day they love remembering the memories they made with it, I will share as much of its history that I know. If they choose to get rid of it because they don’t love it, I just hope they let it go sooner than I could. Letting that guilt and orange truck go…that was easier than I thought it’d be.

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  1. avatar Alice Almighty

    Oh man, I totally get the guilt when looking at things you don’t really want, but feel like you should keep. I have a few of those myself! Thanks for posting!

  2. avatar Melissa@HomeBaked

    Thanks for pointing out the guilt problem. I’ve got a real problem with that over clothing–if someone gave it to me, I have a hard time passing it on, even though I don’t like it or it doesn’t fit. Here’s to letting those things go!

  3. avatar Pamelotta

    That’s a tough one! Sometimes I think we just get so used to seeing the same old stuff laying around it becomes part of the scenery. Good job, taking the time to ask yourself those hard questions! It’ll be easier next time!

  4. avatar Carrie @ Busy Nothings

    First of all, I LOVE that you have a tub that you got when you were 11! That’s just plain cool. Second, good for you for letting your kids play with the truck! I know one of the lessons that I had to learn last fall was that there was no reason to keep something that I didn’t like, just because I love the person that gave it to me. Guilt was there when I purged it, but I finally realized that it’s MY house, not the house of everyone who has different taste than me and gives me things that THEY like. I can love the giver and donate the gift, especially when the gift has been used for several years. :-)

  5. avatar Jules

    Oh, that was so sweet! I think we are kindred spirits. You bought a claw foot tub when you were 11, and for Christmas I asked for ornaments to decorate my tree…the tree I would have when I was married with kids. O_o

    Great job on working through the emotions tied to our stuff.

  6. avatar Jennifer

    This is lovely, so many feelings are attached to things…sometimes that guilt is too much. We have a piece of furniture that was built by a family member, and I have never liked it, but cannot get rid of it (oh how I would love to give it to someone who would love it).
    Also, love, love, love that you bought a clawfoot tub when you were 11, that is so awesome!

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