As promised, the second of two nostalgia-focused entries.

Last week I spent some time cleaning out our attic and some boxes in a basement closet. I don’t have a ton of old stuff left around. I purged much of it when I moved away from Kansas City 11 years ago. But there were still a few boxes with fun memories of my youth in them.

The biggest box contained all my old Star Wars and GI Joe toys. Nothing was in collectable condition, so I decided to unload them on the girls. Now, keep in mind that they’ve never seen any of the Star Wars movies, nor any GI Joe cartoons. But they happily played with them for hours and hours. Seriously, it was the best behaved they have been all summer. I should have done this weeks ago! Some of the novelty has faded, but L. especially loves playing with the Millennium Falcon, the X-Wing fighter, and the GI Joe F-14. I found one GI Joe action figure separated into two pieces. Apparently he stepped on a land mine or something.

Another box contained an over-flowing scrapbook that I started during the 1980 American League Championship Series and World Series. All kinds of other random sports memories are crammed into it. I didn’t look through it too much, but I did find a few gems in my brief investigation.

First, I found the stat sheet my 1984 Little League coach handed out at the end of that season. This was a good year, as we went 14-2 and won the championship series two games to one. It was also my first year in a tougher league, and as usual when I was on the bottom half of the age bracket, I struggled. I hit just .229 for the season. But, I wasn’t afraid to take a walk1, and managed to get an impressive .485 on base percentage. I was ahead of my time! Throw in the fact that I could run down about anything hit to center field, and Billy Beane would have loved me. Had I not been 12/13 and about to enter eighth grade, of course.

Also in that scrapbook was the Kansas City Star Fall TV preview section from 1985. On the cover? Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas from Miami Vice. No wonder I saved it!

The impetus for this process was a sister-in-law’s impending yard sale. For years I’ve held on to a massive box of CDs. This thing is huge; it’s damn near impossible to pick up, so I kept it on the floor of our basement closet. After much deep soul searching, I decided to go ahead and send 95% of the disks to the sale. Most of the songs I still listen to are already on my hard drives. And it’s been years since I went down and dug out a disk to rip a song that I was missing. I was far more likely just to buy the track from iTunes or Amazon than waste time going through the box. And I figure with the impending age of streaming music, anything I want to listen to will never be that far away.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t feel some pangs of doubt when I handed the box over. There was a lot of time and money put into amassing this collection. It was especially difficult to decide whether to give up my large collection of Pearl Jam import singles. But, again, they’re all on my hard drives already, and I can find most of them quickly on Rdio when I need to. So they all went.

After the review, I saved just a handful of disks. All my Pearl Jam live albums. Some by local bands that I knew would be tough to track down if I did want to listen to them in whole some day. And then a handful that are in my “all time favorites” list. Hopefully the rest find a good home.

Probably the funnest thing about digging through that box was seeing how my tastes changed over the years. There were plenty of “pop” artists in there. There was still a lot of early 90s R&B. 2 A small pile of jazz disks. Some cheesy soundtracks probably purchased to have around in case girls liked them. And then loads and loads of “alternative rock” artists.

As with any time I decide to either pitch or give away stuff, I struggle with the accounting behind the transactions. I think of how much money went into buying these disks/clothes/books/etc. and what their worth is now. As with the Star Wars toys, nothing in these boxes was rare or in pristine condition. The value today is almost completely based on my memories of their time in my possession. This CD helped me through a rough time. I read that book during one of the best summers of my life. And so on.

I suppose the bottom line of this exercise is, since I got my own credit cards and income during and after college, I’ve always bought too much stuff.

  1. Or maybe I was afraid to swing. I don’t recall. 
  2. I had sent the bulk of those disks over a few years ago for another yard sale.