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Column: Storing memories or boxes of clutter?

During the past month, I've been sorting 45 years of clutter in our house. My friend said, "I fall in love with too many things but now I have to let go."

I remember saving so many things for our children. I think there were 13 boxes of ribbons, trophies, pictures, favorite toys, memorabilia, etc. I thought they might be interested in beside the usual birth certificate, first communion, report cards, their baby book, books and programs for games they were in.

I brought the boxes up for our son so he and his wife could go through them. Things I thought he might want to keep were discarded. He didn't want those ribbons, his first baby blanket, baptismal outfit, trophies, programs or toys. He took the important pictures and of course his report cards. Within an hour he had things sorted, the trophies headed to be recycled at a trophy shop and ribbons back to the association. The rest of the clutter got scrapped.

It was much the same with our daughter when she moved to Memphis. I think girls have a tendency to save more than boys. It took her longer to decide what to keep -- pictures, books, baby dolls, dance costumes, etc. -- because each held a a fond memory. I remember she was flower girl in my sister's wedding when she was 3. Because she was so small, we couldn't find a dress to fit her. Finally we found a pattern and I made the dress. The top was lace to match the bride's and we ordered material to match the attendants' dresses for the bottom.

It turned out perfect and there was no way she would part with that. Also, her first dance rehearsal bunny costume.

She so enjoyed performing her routine. Marian and Denise -- remember those days! She too kept the important papers plus report cards and pictures. One year for Christmas, Carol Trebil was babysitting when we were at the store. It was a snowy night when Carol loaded her in the wagon and brought our collie to the photographer downtown. She had her little green skirt and black leotard on. We didn't know about it until we opened our Christmas packages and so enjoyed the photo and story behind it.

Yes, there was a lot of clutter. They made decisions in a few hours about things that accumulated over 18 years of their lives. With that gone I vowed to keep things under control but over the years things kept accumulating. You know, all the holiday decorations, pictures and my cookbooks, store materials and articles from the last 20 years. Now I am scrambling to sort out my clutter. We have Keep piles and piles for donations and trash. From now on, it will be one bag in and one bag out. Next time the children will have to clean the clutter and I promise no more garage sales, antique shops, recycle stores or sale items I really don't need.

Hash brown omelet

4 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled

2 cups hash browns

1 small onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

4 eggs

1/4 cup milk

Dash of salt and pepper

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook hash brown, onion and green pepper in two table spoons bacon drippings. Whisk and pour over eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Top with cheese and bacon. Cook over low heat five to seven minutes. Fold over and turn out of skillet. Cut in wedges. Yield: Four servings

Creamy salad

1 16 oz. Cool Whip

4 green apples, peeled, seeded and diced

5 chilled Snicker bars cut in bite size pieces

1 cup dried cherries

1 3/4 cups mini marshmallows

1 1.4 oz package vanilla instant pudding

Mix pudding and Cool Whip together. Fold in apples, Snicker Bars, cherries and cherries. Chill before serving

Yield: eight servings

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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