April 10, 2011

Where is Roger?

When I am not teaching or being department chair, I do physical labor: I’ve packed 120-some boxes so far. A lot of physical work. I’m sore most of the time, but a good kind of sore. I’ve kept the book boxes small, so as to not get another hernia.

Why? We are putting our house up for sale and getting it ready to show, and part of that exercise is cutting way back on clutter. And clutter is my middle name so I end up having a lot to do.

This morning I had a rather disgusting duty. A row of boxes in the basement crawlspace sat neglected for a few years. A family of rats decided to move into one of the boxes, the second box of my personal letters that range from 1968 to 1999. Many letters were chewed to pieces, some had the ends chewed off, and almost all of them had rat urine and feces on them. Wearing gloves and a mask, I went through the letters, parting with most of them. But I stumbled upon a few surprises. One was a long correspondence with my high school poetry teacher. I had a major crush on her and wrote her many letters. She was faithful in keeping up the correspondence without ever crossing the line. I threw them all away. Sigh…. I kept a handfull of letters in good shape from some of my composer friends. Why didn’t the rats make a home in with my old tax records? In addition to lots of stinky letters, I tossed out my tax records from 1968 through 2002. Wow. The garbage can weighs a ton!

But I think of all the goodbyes I am saying in this one garbage can. Hundreds of letters; thousands of carefully kept receipts.

Farewell memories, you are now only in my memory!

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