Sorting lifetime possessions and valuing the history behind them

Merrilyn discusses the realization of, "that what is precious to one person may have no significance to another."

A good friend of mine and I were chatting the other day about the family ritual of helping elderly parents sort a lifetime of possessions. A fair number of my generation are being recruited for this emotional activity and as one who has recently participated, the feelings remain strong. It also brings a realization that what is precious to one person may have no significance to another.

Having lived in four provinces over my lifetime and having moved several times in each province, I haven’t the same attachment that a person might have if I had settled somewhere, but I still have managed to carry with me a few things from each place that remind me of a special person or time.

The conversation turned to the realization that participating in this exercise underlines how much “stuff” a person accumulates. We find ourselves burdened with the problem of dealing with it. We are encouraged to keep our stuff organized by magazines published for that reason only. We see lovely boxes, large and small, made especially for sorting and storing. There is an appliance for every kitchen activity dreamt of and then some, and honestly, how many remote controls do you have on your coffee table?

I don’t for a minute believe that this is a twenty-first century issue but I believe that it is exacerbated by the public busyness we all experience, especially now that we are so technologically connected. The possibilities for complicating our lives are endless and apparently it is human nature to want it to be so. Behind every neat freak there is a pack rat waiting to come out.

When it comes time to do the sorting, if you are a person who makes “things” as my friend and I are, you can see that this creates a dilemma. So, the discussion turned to whether it is of any use to continue in our chosen craft. After all, aren’t we just producing more stuff for people to have to deal with? Fortunately, we both got over that in a hurry.

We have been practicing our art and craft far too long to kid ourselves. We are creators by nature and we create first because we are driven. These objects carry meaning, emotion and spiritual depth when well made. We have invested all these aspects of ourselves into the creating. It becomes apparent that beautiful objects, whether useful or not, will always be the last things that most of us will give up as we come close to the end of our life journey. Those objects will usually carry a part of our history, if you listen.

Back to the sorting issue. Paul and I have several lovely objects that we have acquired over our years together. We’ve tried to do a pre-sort to spare our kids some grief. We also try not to kid ourselves that our children will place the same value on our things that we have done when it comes time for them to do the sorting. How could they? — For these works of art carry our own memories of wonderful vacations, interesting experiences and people who we have met. They will, however have the same opportunity that I had to see in a different light the things my mother valued and to understand her history and therefore, part of mine.

 

Just Posted

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

.
Princeton’s Spotlight wins two provincial awards for excellence

Publisher takes first place for investigative reporting

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

The COVID-19 cases reported over the week of May 30 to June 5. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees second straight week of 17 new COVID-19 cases

Summerland, Keremeos and Princeton all recorded no new cases

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

Most Read