From Baby Shoes to Grad Shoes – My Mementos Aren’t Going Anywhere


My house is fairly organized.

Some visitors have called it “spotless.”

They’ve been shielded from my office – lovingly referred to as “the pit.” Remember the “Friends” episode with Monica’s closet? Problem is, I have two more pits.

Oh, that sounded weird. I have two memory totes. Full of childhood and teenage nostalgia – and the tip of my 20s.

It’s where I store my old singing demos; aging New Year’s Eve crowns; yellowing newspapers; and a vintage cheese slicer. Seriously, a cheese slicer?

Today, I dragged those totes upstairs to declutter. Minimize. Intentions of tossing out my grad shoes, the rabbit my sister made me in HomeEc, and a sandwich bag of keychains.

Why am I holding onto a stuffed pig I bought from Safeway in 1999? Or the watch with the crumbling wristband my parents bought me for Christmas 1991. The bottle of seashells from my family trip to British Columbia in 1986?

I’m laughing as I write this list: my grad shoes, childhood koala bear placemat, and grade four recorder. And pastel hair clips from the late ‘80s.

Why do these items give me comfort? My tote contents could easily reside in my mind. But my fear is losing my memory. I cringe at the thought of looking at my graduation frame of me dancing with my close high school friends – and wondering who are those young girls?

My two totes. See the license plate with my initials? A random find by my dad. Just can't figure out 281.
See the license plate with my initials? A random find by my dad. Just can’t figure out 281.

As I glance at the contents, I see a theme. From my happy times and not so happy times. A figure skating troll. The button closure from my sash from when I ran for Miss Interlake. Gift bags from get well presents. Notes from my older sister – “Get better, Bunny Toes.” Hospital bracelets. My totes tell a story. And it’s my story.

It’s two Rubbermaid totes where the most dangerous item is probably the lavender eyeshadow pencil I won at an Aloette party in 1986. Bacteria.


I’ve stuffed my mementos into these two boxes during my life. According to society – and countless memes on Pinterest – it’s not healthy to hold onto the past.

But I refuse to turf my baby shoes. I’m content to keep my CFSA coach’s guide from 1988 and a Country Weekly from Dec. 1, 1996.

If people had to push their way into my house, then I’d see a problem. Right now, I keeping a blue dog from my uncle in a plastic box. With envelopes with my elementary report cards and Evergreen Festival of the Arts awards.

My house is neat. It’s tidy. I have two memory boxes. And a Monica’s closet in my office.

I’ll just search harder for a bookcase and desk.

Because I’m not letting go of my memories until they let go of me.