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unpacking a lifetime of stuff

This recent move is my 23rd. I have lived in no less than 23 homes. I am not counting all the temporary/in-between houses I resided in as well…like the apartment my family lived in for the summer while we looked for housing in Hawaii, or the mobile home we lived in while my parents house hunted in San Antonio, or the times I lived with friends or in hotels or cottages…the impermanent places. One might argue that after 23 homes, there was no permanence really. But in my heart, each of these “places” became “homes.” This is the life of a child of a career military man.

With every move came packing and unpacking. Sometimes we stored our possessions only to recover them years later and find we had outgrown our stuff. It’s been three months that I have been without the majority of my possessions. They arrived from their hibernation in a storage unit and their long trek across the country just a few days ago. As I have unpacked I have rediscovered items I have carried with me one way or another since I was a child.

These include:

a deck of cards

my teddy bear and Raggedy Ann

various pins from races/events I entered as a kid

my Baptism dress

my green yoyo

a little blue plexiglass box with a bead, a dairy key, and small squares of fabric inside

my childhood rosaries( you really can’t get rid of a rosary can you?)

the very first crochet hook I ever owned, given to me by my Grandmother

an afghan I began as a kid and completed when I was in high college(crochet with the above mentioned hook)

my flokati rug doll from Turkey

my childhood scrapbook

I am sure I will find some more as I unpack. I cannot part with any of these things. Often I feel as if I am unconnected to any place on this earth, that I have never been in a place long enough to be noticed or remembered. These pieces of my past remind me that I have an identity and presence, they are tangible reminders that I am connected to my own history.

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