Locks and Memory, or memories

Whilst sorting through stuff today, well, more like while making sure it's nothing I need after not seeing this stuff for over ten years, and recycling papers, I came across a box that probably hasn't been looked at since I moved back from Chicago in 1994. And in this box was a combination lock. This lock was last used by myself in 1988; it locked my bicycle. I obtained this lock in the fall of 1975, the first day of school; it was my locker lock. Not having seen it in 15 years, not having used it in 22 years, I calmly spun the dial, and entered the combination, and opened it.

Yes, I remembered the combination. Good thing, too, it's not written down anywhere, I'm sure the school bookstore purged their records of that lock many years ago [I did, early on, forget the combination, called the bookstore, and they told it to me; they kept records just for that purpose.]

I can't remember any of the four addresses I had in my six years in Chicago, nor the telephone number, the same holds true for Tucson and Eugene, both of which were school-related tenures. At the moment I still have papers from Tucson and Chicago, and if I looked through them I could find that information. Shortly, in the next several weeks, all of that information will be gone, except for several boxes which have shipping labels on them and are still in use. Shortly, aside from some photographs, books, and a couple of tchotchkes, I will have nothing left from the vast majority of my life, no tangible items reflecting my experiences and history, nothing except my memories.

My memory is a quirky thing. I can remember the address and phone number of the house I grew up in in Salem, Oregon, and I could draw a diagram of how the house was laid out prior to our moving to Portland. I can actually draw floor-plans for every place I've lived, now that I think about it, even if I don't remember the address. Well, except for the first two houses, but I was very young, less than a year old when we moved into the house on Saginaw in Salem, so I have no memory of the house on State Street which we lived in initially upon moving to Salem, nor the Potter Street house in Eugene where we lived when I was born; I know the streets they were on from my parents' conversations over the years, and there is the slight chance that amongst their documents we'd have those addresses. I can't navigate Salem as well as I used to, because of the construction over the years since we moved.

In my mind I can see people that I've known over the years, worked with, gone to school with, known in fandom and the SCA, and I know who they are... except that the names are starting to fade, with time and mental disuse. Well, some of them, some of them can be dredged back up, given time. But I've always been bad with names, at least when I initially meet people, it always took a while for me to learn names, part of my memorization problems which have always been with me. Once I learn the name, I'm pretty good, I guess. And I can remember what people look like.

There was a period when I took lots of photographs, before my first real camera was stolen; I fell out of the habit, then, and never got back into it. So there are a couple of years with lots of photos, of the SCA, some of fandom, some school, but after that not much at all, I was too busy doing and not recording. Taking photos is what spectators do, and I enjoyed myself so much more if I was helping make things happen. Which means for most of my life there is no record, other than the very documents I'm in the process of discarding. Some will be kept, those which look to be of use, such as those supporting my disability claim; it may come under review sometime, so I feel the need to keep those documents, which means I'll still have copies of my last job resume, and a work history which describes in some detail what I did at various jobs, all part of documenting what I'd been able to do prior to the gradual decline. But I'm throwing out alot of memorabilia, con programs, newsletters, letters, all sorts of stuff that I look at and force myself to ask if I'll ever look at them again, and find the answer being "No, I'll never go through these again", so I discard them, the neglected record of my past.

And then I'll go through my books, and that will be hard, going through and looking at them from the perspective of what I'm honestly likely to use, as opposed to the reference librarian who wants to keep everything, but if I'm looking at moving into a considerably smaller place, I really have no choice.

And the wood shop and all my electronics and building maintenance materials, what of them to keep and how best to dispose of what I don't? Again, the question of what do I actually see myself using. I'm seeming to be functioning some better recently, but how will that carry over to various activities I haven't done in years?

So much of going through my stuff includes saying "This I used to do, but do no longer, and will never do again". There needs to be some "And this I may do again", something of planning forwards, seeing future accomplishment and activities. To be blunt, a reason for going on. I need to find things that I will be doing, that will involve me with others, for I need to be involved with my fellow man, and at some level be a contributing part of society; I do not enjoy being a spectator, and at this time I'm not even doing that.

I'm tired. Guess I'll go to bed, then.

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