If you’re a typical baby boomer, you’ve got a lot of … um … stuff! But sometimes your relationship with all that stuff is magical. That’s what Oregon baby boomer Courtney Pierce writes about in her debut book called Stitches: A Novel. All that stuff … and how it can change our lives! Here’s an excerpt; you might relate.
“I can’t believe we still have a beta hi-fi machine under here. You can’t even buy tapes for it anymore,” Jean said.
“I know, but it’s still better technology than what’s out there,” Spence said and took a sip of his coffee.
“You haven’t plugged it in for twenty-five years. It’s time to let go of it.”
“What about all the fabric in the closet upstairs?”
“I know, I know. I’m just as guilty, but I’ll never be able to find some of those designs again.”
She pointed to a stack of tapes. “Let’s take these tapes of the Kinks. You have albums of the European release and the American release of Schoolboys in Disgrace upstairs in the office. You have it on beta, on a cassette for the car, and on CD — also for the car. And you’ve downloaded it onto iTunes. That’s just one title. You have over three thousand albums, Spence. I totally get you want to keep the albums, but can’t you shed some of these extra versions? You never play them.”
Spence stayed silent for a few moments. Finally he said, “But I know they’re there if I want to play them.”
Jean studied the look on his face. If anything more were said about it, her words would stick like poppy seeds in his teeth. His rock music, in all its forms, documented the milestones of his sixty-one years in perfect freeze-frame. “Let’s make a compromise. I’ll get rid of all the old bolts of fabric. I’ll only keep the modern ones I’m going to use for the house, and you get rid of the old tape versions of this music. Deal?”
“All right, that’s fair,” Spence relented. “But not if it’s a live version that I don’t have anywhere else.”
That was fair— “only” the modern fabrics were still ten bolts’ worth.
It had all become stuff, and all that stuff had closed in on them. Treasures quickly became junk when there was no place to put them. It was going to be a breath of fresh air to be moving into an open midcentury house when they got to Portland.
“None of this furniture will work in the new house, either. All of these old knickknacks … I’m kind of sick of them anyway,” Jean said and swept her hand in the air. “I poked around in the attic, and there are boxes up there we never unpacked when we moved in here. I don’t even know half of what’s up there. And we need to do something with all those old plates from your mother and the bedroom furniture from my parents. What the heck are we going to do with a pewter maple-syrup pitcher from 1850? I’m sure all of these things have some value, but who has time to deal with it? I know I don’t.”
Her anxiety level ratcheted up. The long to-do list was getting longer.