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Cutting to the Core

Being a packrat makes for lasting memories

I'm a packrat. I've been that way for as long as I can remember. I probably picked it up from my parents, although I don't think they would admit to being in the rodent family.

I never thought about it much but a couple of weeks ago I was talking to my mom on the phone. When I had moved to Thailand in 2002 I basically stored all of my junk at my parents' house. I'm just now getting it all out of there and I haven't been able to find my concert tickets.

I've been to several shows over the years and I've saved just about all of my tickets.

I asked my mom if she had seen an envelope with concert tickets in them. She said no. I asked her if she had seen them, she would know not to throw them away, right.

"Why do you want to save them anyway," she asked.

I thought, uh oh. That's not the answer I wanted.

But her question got me thinking. Why do I save them?

Because they are momentos from my past. I could have asked my mom why she saved my report cards from each of my years in school. I'm glad she did though, and I have them now.

Every once in a while I'll go through them. The ones from elementary school are favorites of mine.

I get to reminisce about my third grade teacher. Man, she had some nasty body odor. Not only was her B.O. nasty, her whole demeanor was. I moved to Olympia about two months into the school year and she yelled at me my first day. I was a new kid for pete's sake. You don't yell at a new third-grader.

What happened was I had to go to the bathroom. When a student had to go, they put a slip of paper that said 'out' in a bathroom folder. Once they returned, they switched the 'out' with a slip that said 'in'. Well, a person forgot to change the slip of paper to 'in' and I couldn't go until it was.

I notified the old bat of this gaffe, not because I wanted to get someone in trouble, but because I wanted to go No. 1. She yelled at me and told me she didn't like tattletales. I tried to explain that was not my intention but she spoke over me and sent me back to my desk, embarrassed.

Or, I like to read my report card from fifth grade. My teacher was Mr. Herness, another real winner. We could only say yes in his class, yeah was not allowed.

I remember one day I was first in line after recess to get back in the classroom. Some kids started pushing and I was flung forward as he opened the door. He naturally assumed I was the one doing the pushing and made me go to the back of the line. He then spent about one minute glaring at me and trying to stare me down. What a git.

I wasn't always innocent, but in this case I was. He stated in my progress report I fancied myself a comedian and had tried to take on the mantle of class clown. That was probably true but the way he said it was snobbish.

I save all this stuff because I don't think I could remember everything if I didn't. Take my concert tickets, for example. Looking at a ticket for an Iron Maiden show brings back the memories of hanging out in the parking lot with friends and trying to pick up 80's hair metal chicks. Oh the 80's.

One Poison ticket brings memories of me finding a front row ticket on the ground. I was able to watch the show from the best seats in the house. True, I wish now it could have been a different band than Poison, but oh well.

I have clothes that don't fit me anymore and probably never will, but I still have them. They too, bring back memories for me. Sure, I don't need my uniforms from my Marine Corps days. Even if I could fit into them I wouldn't have any reason to wear them, but again, they bring back memories.

I even have old high school student newspapers from Pasco High. They bring back memories I would never unlock. My memories of high school are very fuzzy.

From the dances I went to in junior high to high school, I still have all the pictures.

I have letters from years back, photos and other momentos, and I keep them all. Because when I'm 80-years-old, I want to go through all my old junk, and remember things like they were yesterday.

Being a packrat will hopefully make that happen.

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