As we look forward to life in Morocco, we are still looking back, just a little, on our time in North Carolina. A lot happened in the final days, including the scramble to get everything arranged into three enormous piles: one gigantic pile for the movers, a slightly smaller pile for checked luggage, and a third, obscene pile that no one would guess was carry on. But on the eve of moving our family back overseas, I got the itch to clean out “my drawer,” a space that had nothing at all to do with packing for Rabat.
My parents established “my drawer” when we moved into our new home in the 4th grade. I was extremely possessive over my drawer. My brother Andy’s drawer was right beside mine, followed by Jack’s (who was just an infant at the time). The rule was that we could manage our drawers in any way we wanted. No one could mess with another’s drawer, organize it, or throw anything away from it (ahem, Dad). It was “my drawer.”
I’ve been out of the house for 13 years* now and I still expect the rules to apply. And they must still apply, because my drawer has been bulging at the seams since high school. I have been meaning to clean it out for ages, so it only made sense to do it right then amid the gazillion other things I had to do. Here is what I found:
Old timey public library card expiring in 1995
Y card used weekly at 5:30am, Central Branch, where Dad, Andy and I ate a packed breakfast, played basketball, swam, showered, and then went to school with our hair wet.
A poetry book from elementary school and my first (and only) novel titled, “The Ugly Old Witch.” Excerpt: “When the witch returned to her house, she felt so good that she forced herself to take a bath. Then she looked in the mirror and discovered that her nose shrank to normal size.” The end.
A cookbook from a summer program where my parents enrolled me in 1992. Best summer of my life. I still use this recipe for No Bake Chocolate Cookies. 1/2 stick margarine, 1 c. sugar, 2 T. cocoa, 1/4 c. milk, 1 1/2 c. minute oats, 1/4 c. peanut butter. Mix margarine, sugar, cocoa and milk and boil over medium heat for 1 1/2 minutes. Add oats and peanut butter. Stir well to mix. Drop onto waxed paper with spoon and let cool.
A miniature glass vase (1.5 inches) for a very miniature flower.
Also in the miniature category, a teeny backpack used for collecting loose change spent annually at Chatham Penny Candy in Cape Cod.
Patches: an American flag; a memento from my participation in the President’s Physical Fitness Test (no longer being offered after the 2013 school year, gasp!); Girl Scout cookie patch ’94; Ashbrook High School mascot (I graduated from Forestview).
And some photos:
Seventh grade, the year I thought overalls were in style
There were a creepy number of photos of each of these beautiful girls in my drawer. I must have felt pretty smug to have our friendship solidified by this group photo. (note to self, “start website awkwardfriendshipphotos.com)
Was it a thing to pass out wallet-sized photos of yourself at your high school? I didn’t actually need a photo of my friend Desmond from Latin class because this is EXACTLY how I remember him and almost EXACTLY how he looks to this day.
Uh, my mom’s college roommate’s daughter. Adorable as ever. I think I kept this one in the wallet so that I could talk about my out-of-town friend to my in-town friends.
It was probably my insistence on cleaning out and documenting everything in my drawer that lead to a fourth pile, the junk-I-didn’t-have-time-to-sort-so-I-left-it-for-my-dad pile. It was worth it to take a trip down memory lane though, even while I lost a few hours of precious sleep over it. Now my drawer is in top shape for the next time I come home. That may be a while, but at least I can rest easy in Morocco knowing my drawer is organized and clutter free…because you all know that’s the main reason I am losing sleep these days.
*Somewhat out of the house. I’ve actually spent a scattered 10 months at home over the last year and a half. Three and a half months for giving birth to Carolyn, roughly 3 on home leave after Tanzania, and 4 for William.