My husband says I'm a pack rat. He has threatened to call the producers of the show Hoarders, have them come over to our humble abode and physically force me to get rid of my “stuff.” I'll admit it I do tend to keep things. And it's not just a recent pastime but a habit I've skillfully honed since the ripe old age of seven. Looking through a box of childhood stuff I found napkins from restaurants, pens, ticket stubsâ€¦all of which were reminders of blissful experiences and have served as totems of those parts of my childhood I worry I may forget.
And it's true when you rifle through a box of old memories, the physical sensation it evokes feels almost transcendental, bringing you back to the period of your life when, in your mind, life was at its most uncomplicated. Of course my husband looks at these napkins and thinks “Cuckoo” but these sentiments are also coming from a man who doesn't believe saving anything from the past is necessary. He believes what he needs is stored inside of him and goes wherever he goes. Of course when my kids ask him about childhood memories, he usually gives them a blank stare and tells them, he doesn't remember but I digress. This post is about me and my inability to part with things.
Now that I have kids, I feel this pressing sense of urgency to document every moment of their physical presence, savor every drawing, macaroni necklace and religious object d'art they create. My daughter, the sensible almost 10-year-old, recently told me we needed to go through her memories and throw out the things that weren't “so important.” It was a gut wrenching experience. While it was hard for me to let go of those silly stick figure etchings, I know I am better for doing it (at least that's what they told me as they pried the beaded macaroni and feathered necklaces from my hands).
However this week when my backup external hard drive which housed all my digital photos since the year 2005 suddenly died, I felt like a piece of my heart died with it. All those moments – stolen, staged and serendipitous caught on film simply snuffed away with no warning. Of course I am not going down without a fight and have already shelled out a good $250 just to see if they can possibly retrieve these lost memories for me – my kids getting their first haircuts, blowing out their candles at birthday parties and playing on the lawn with our sweet dog Mellie. Although these memories are so vibrant in my mind, if I don't have physical documentations of them in the form of pictures I will feel like those memories will be washed away, especially once I've passed away.
The Geek Squad at Best Buy told me that this could be a very expensive process – up to $1800 depending on how damaged my hard drive is. I told them I will go the distance, much to my husband's chagrin.
How far would you go to preserve your memories?