Wednesday, April 25, 2007


It seems that many things I look at in my office these days bring back memories. In my decisions about what to take and what to leave, I keep running across keepsakes that tell many stories of the years I have spent in this place. I pulled a random selection of things to tell you about in today's post.

The wine glasses represent a sudden urge for fetuccine alfredo and white wine for lunch when I was in an office in Rosslyn. My friend Linda, who was perhaps the most emotional and demonstrative person I will ever know, and I trekked up to the Safeway, where we bought all the ingredients, including a bottle of wine and these glasses. We came back to the office and made lunch. I'm sure we shared the bottle of wine right in the office and didn't care who noticed. Our boss back then would have just joined us. Times have changed. The glasses have never held another drop of wine since that day in 1975.

The bird was a gift from Jeff, who was a collector of birds and music and porn featuring young girls and cucumbers. Jeff's foot was permanently stuck in his mouth. But he continued to amuse me, knowing he could always annoy me by calling me "Babs". I understand that Jeff, who was always way overweight, is now trim in his retirement in West Virginia. A former recently retired colleague and I plan to visit him soon.

The beach scene with real sand was one of my father's creations. He couldn't bear to throw anything away. So this is simply a recycled jelly container, replete with beach and sand. It is my beach where I grew up and fried my body in cocoa butter. There are many memories associated with that beach.

The little hinged walnut was also a product of my father signed by my son at probably about age 5. It contains a message on the inside "God loves you and so do I." "Daniel" is written in kid letters on the other side. What a treasured little nut.

The origami bird was the product of a quiet oriental girl who worked in the office for several years. Her legacy to the office was a flock of birds, each unique from the other. I wonder what became of her.

A "spin-pop candy" Harry Potter is the latest addition. I pulled this at the holiday gift exchange several years ago when Harry Potter was the hottest thing going. I will forever remember Jonah, the source of my little candy dispenser. Jonah has moved on to bigger and better things, run in the Marine marathon, and is expecting his first baby any day.

The abalone shell came from New Zealand. It was a gift from Julia with her very Aussie accent. She was doing a huge project on the use of administrative records. I painstakingly provided our data in exactly the form in which she needed it and got this beautiful shell in appreciation.

This is just the beginning of a stream of memories that come to the surface as I pack up the keepsakes of the past 35 years. There are many good ones that I will keep forever.


Blogger Kristin said...

What a great collection, and so full of stories.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

These are what makes up the neat thing about a career. Will they be put in a special place at home?

5:16 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- I'm sure you have similar things around. You don't really think about them until you are forced to move them!

MOI -- I hadn't contemplated putting up a shrine for keepsakes! I haven't actually thought about anything beyond boxing them up and hauling them out of the building.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Ulysses said...

I feel bad about the things I still have boxed up (really gotta get some personal space in the new office...) it took me alot longer to find those writings for you because I stumbled onto a box of keepsakes first and got sidetracked. I wonder what became of many of those people.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dad has a walnut shell that your dad gave him when my mother died. What a treasure. FL

12:55 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Isn't it interesting how much memory and emotion we invest in things? No point in boxing them up and hiding them - could you integrate those things into the ones already in your home life? Then when you look at them, you won't be sad that they represent something gone but happy because they are still part of your life.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Surf that stream of memories, girlfriend.

You're in the chute now, almost at the end - Hang ten.

8:19 AM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

What great memories you have there. How nice to leave with these heart-warming feelings towards those that were important to you there.
It will make the leaving bittersweet, I am sure. But, on to a new phase with more memories to add to your wonderful collection.
You were obviously loved and cared for by many there.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Ulysses -- It's sort of like going through an archaelogical dig, yes? Every rock has a memory associated with it!

FL -- I'm so glad my pediatrician has a walnut from my father. I wonder who else he gave them to over the years?

Pauline -- None of these keepsakes make me sad. They are the pleasant reminders of times past.

Reya -- Surf city, here we come! I am on top of this wave and it looks good!

Gewels -- My little pile of "junk" is probably not worth more than $5 in real money, but it's actually worth more than its weight in gold. In fact, you can't even put a price on memories!

11:11 AM  
Blogger steve said...

I have a little piece of coral on my desk that i think I will name Barbara...I sure do like your little posts like this one...

4:18 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- I was just thinking about you tonight and hoping I would hear from you. I will be honored if you name the coral after me. I have a huge big piece of coral my father brought back from the Pacific where he was testing the atom (or hydrogen?) bomb in 1958. I'm sure it was illegal to cut coral off the reef and take it as a souvenir, but they must not have gotten the message because they all sent lots of it home. My favorite thing he sent was cans of oysters that contained real pearls. That seemed the ultimate in cool to me as a 9-year-old!

9:56 PM  

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