I’ve been doing some closet and attic cleaning this week. Digging through old boxes of stuff, looking for things that can/need to be thrown away, or items that can be sent to my sister-in-law for her up-coming garage sale.

I dug through a huge pile of Far Side books that I’ll be flipping through in the next few weeks. Those should be fun. Was there a surer Christmas gift in the late 80s through mid 90s than Far Side collections?

I found an old scrapbook, mostly from the fall of 1980 and that year’s playoffs and World Series. But a bunch of other random items have been stuffed into it over the years. I found a program from my third grade play. The roster from my fourth grade football team. The year-end stats from my seventh grade baseball team. All kinds of certificates of achievement for various school activities. The funny thing about the rosters and programs is that I circled my name in all of them. It was especially amusing in the play program. I had the big part of Davy Crockett, so my name appeared twice. I circled it both times.

Why the hell was I circling my own name in elementary school lists? In case someone broke into my room, dug through my box of scraps, and wanted to know who all this belonged to? In case of amnesia or old age and I needed a reminder of my identity? Or just the early signs of my gigantic ego?

Among the boxes of books that will be going to the garage sale will be a large collection of Hardy Boys books. I guess I hung onto them all these years in case I had a son. I doubt the girls will be very interested in boys high school mystery stories from the 1950s. Thanks to Happy Days I had some idea of 50s culture when I was reading the books in third and fourth grades. I knew what a jalopy was, for example. Do kids today have any understanding of the context of the stories, or is it almost like reading Chaucer, where it was kind of English but nothing like what we speak?

It was also funny to see the covers of the later books in the series. Mirroring the TV show of the late 70s, Frank and Joe had feathered hair and preppy clothes on. Sadly, it looks like they finally killed the series five years ago, although the series has been rebooted to modernize them.

Finally, the funniest thing I found was in an old Star Wars comic book. I was flipping through it, as it was probably one of the first comic books I ever owned, and came across an ad for Grit magazine. Apparently little seven-year-old me wanted to get a subscription, because I had filled in the order blank. In the space labelled “Male or Female?” I filled in “Boy”. I’m not sure if I didn’t know what those words meant, yet, or if I thought you weren’t a male until you’re a man.