Monday, May 5, 2014

The Packrat!

I admit it!
I am a packrat!
I've been a packrat all my life.

When I think of my packrat self,
I see a bushy-tailed woodrat.

Bushy-Tailed Woodrat

Kind of cute, isn't it?
The Ever-Patient Terry doesn't think so.

I was sorting through my big collection of maps yesterday,
and Terry was just shaking his head as he watched me:
"Life would be so much easier for you
if you would just listen to me, Babe.
Get rid of them all! ~
There's so much on-line!"

Non-packrats don't get packrats.

Since I've retired,
I've eliminated most of my school things.
But I have a long way to go
with the rest of my treasures ~
or crap, as the E-P would say.

Right now I'm contemplating 
my 84 numbered photo albums,
my 15 or so unnumbered albums,
my shoeboxes filled with photos,
my dozens and dozens and dozens 
of photos packets in file drawers,
and some 53,000 photos on my computer.

It's a little overwhelming!

So, just for fun, 
right now,
I'm pulling a random packet out of a pile of photo packets 
I found hidden among my hundreds of maps yesterday.

And I promised myself 
I'd post one or two of the photos 
I discovered in the packet,
just for fun.

Here goes ~ Opening the packet!

I can't believe it!
Honest to God.
Honest to God!!!!!

The E~P and Me
Along Cape Flattery Trail
September 1984

I've been looking for this photo forever!
Who knew I should look in my scary map drawers,
(a file cabinet of four legal-sized drawers 
crammed and filled with piles of maps in folders and loose)!

This is Terry and I on our honeymoon
in Washington State in September 1984
along the trail to Cape Flattery.

We are sitting in a hollow log
just off on a muddy trail
criss-crossed with knobby roots.
It is misty-rainy
and Terry is good-naturedly hiking with me
to the northwestern most point 
in the continental USA.

He has learned over the years 
that I want to get to the highest and lowest points,
the tips and ends of everything,
just around the next corner;
well, under, above, behind, on top of,
in short, everywhere!

And in the funny way this Universe works,
I started off with a bushy-tailed woodrat in this post,
a character from a favorite children's book 
I read aloud almost every year to my kiddos:
Will Hobbs' Kokopelli's Flute.

And Will Hobbs, 
just the most personable author in the world, 
also wrote Ghost Canoe
which takes place on and around Cape Flattery!

And in the same envelope of photos in the packet is this photo:

Moon House
Cedar Mesa, Utah

Terry and I are sitting in a door 
that leads to a tiny room 
in an Anasazi cliff dwelling called Moon House
located on remote Cedar Mesa in Utah.

This room was featured in Kokopelli's Flute.
The moment Will Hobbs read aloud a passage
in his just published Kokopelli's Flute
to a group of us at a children's literacy conference,
I knew he had been at Moon House.

So of course 
we talked about Moon House 
after his presentation,
and Will wrote this
in my copy of his book.

The page is a little damaged
from one of the floods
my classroom endured
over my career.

There was a second envelope of photos
in the packet, and I found this:

Sara and Natalie
Christmas Morning, 1996

Just a cute photo of my nieces.
Except that just before I began this post,
I wrote a comment on my friend Audrey's heartwarming post,
and I told her a story about these two that took place
just a couple of days after I snapped this photo.

Sometimes life is downright enchanted!


  1. Such wonderful history
    It's nice to look back isn't it.. special memories!
    You both look so happy

    Christmas mornings and children.. the anticipation and joy.. very sweet

    1. Thanks, Dawna Lee! It is so much fun to look back! My experience with randomly picking photos was surprisingly intertwined! It gave me a boost to plod on with the organizing and decluttering! There is nothing lovelier than the faces of children! Have a good one!

  2. You proved that every one of those +53,000 photos is precious! Keep them! Love the honeymooners pic.

    1. Thanks, Terry! That's my problem ~ every photos is precious! LOL! I finally realized that the packet I pulled out randomly contained pictures I had put in a calendar for my family for Christmas 1996. I've been looking for them at least 10 years. Oh happy day! Take care!

  3. This is so cool, and I love the photos.

    1. Thanks Linda! I'm a bit Overboard! when it comes to photos! Have a happy evening!

  4. Such cool photos! Don't you just love looking through images taken long ago. They certainly stir up a lot of emotions. I have oodles of albums filled with entire histories.

    And you are right "Non-packrats don't get packrats". I'm a minimalist, and I get rid of things on a regular basis. Clutter is the worst thing that can happen to me. Even now, the house seems full, although someone else would think it isn't, but there's only so much I can make disappear before the rest of the family notices...LOL...

    1. I do so love looking at old photos, Martha! Not just mine ~ I've been enjoying your Montreal memories and stories. I'm feeling lightened as I slowly unload. I don't want to leave behind a nightmare for someone else to deal with. I'll get there. Minimalists like you encourage me! Have a good one!

  5. A moon house! How wonderful! Your older family pictures are so charming. Certainly takes me back to another era. I did notice your big glasses - I hope you saved them as they are back in style!!

    1. Hi Francie! Yes, a Moon House! If you go inside the door my husband and I were sitting in, the little Anasazi room is painted with a full moon and a crescent moon. That gave the ruins their name. I didn't save my glasses. I did love them. And, of course, they're back. So everyone will have to buy new stylish glasses! Have a lovely evening!

  6. Obviously you need to go through those maps carefully before you chuck them!
    You look so 80's. Oh wait, we all did. At least you didn't have a mullet...

    1. No worries ~ I'm only chucking anything over two copies of each map! They are mostly National Geographic maps. They're nothing next to my decades of the actual magazines. NO I didn't have a mullet thank goodness! LOL! Enjoy your evening!

  7. Its such a nice thing to have all those old photos.

    1. You're right, Jill! It really is nice to have old photos! I'm trying to figure out how to organize them and preserve them for the future ~ especially those of my grandparents and great grandparents. A daunting task, but I'll get there! Have a good one!

  8. haha well at least you can it into very small spaces if you look like that pack rat, watch out for cats and mouse traps. I'm a chucker, pictures are sure great to keep and stuff like that, but what I don't need I heave

    1. I'm trying to become a better chucker, Pat! But it's a slow transformation! Take care!

  9. I'm impressed that you have that many numbered and unnumbered albums. I stopped at 7 numbered and two others.
    Your nieces are cute as can be!

    1. Hi Dreaming! I'm starting to take my photos out of the old albums. As Terry keeps pointing out the photo albums, maps, "National Geographics" and books aren't going to fit into my nursing home room, so I'm trying to consolidate! LOL! They are cute, but they are oh so grown up now. In a few weeks the two of them are taking off on a trip through Italy together. Sara is just finishing up a year of study in Dijon, and Natalie has just completed her first year at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. Look out Europe! I hope that you are enjoying being home and off the road! Have a a good one!

  10. 1996 was also the year that Tickle Me Elmo came out, that quickly became a fad.

    1. Don't I know it, Adam! Tickle Me Elmo caused quite a sensation under at least two MacBeath trees that year! Take care!

  11. What fun - I enjoyed reading your precious collections and seeing your happy honeymooning faces :) The girls are adorable.

    1. Thank you. Glo! We did have such fun on our honeymoon. Where we were going was a secret that only Terry and his brother-in-law Cathal knew. I found out at the airport that we were off to the Olympic Peninsula, and it was the best! Have a happy day!

  12. Well, serendipity here for sure. What fun to explore with you! As for packrat-itis, when you aren't feeling overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of "stuff" to keep track of, it definitely has its charms.

  13. How good to see you, Carol! Thanks for your kind words. I hope all is well in your corner of the world!

  14. Nothing more magical than ruffling through old photos and reliving the old times. It is really cool how these all intertwined!

    1. Hi Snowcatcher! I know the universe is supposed to be random, but sometimes it's eerily intertwined. I could not believe it! I hope all is well in your corner of the world!

  15. Hi Louise! I love it when 'this' happens to me as I wander around in the basement and find photos from the past. I disappear for over an hour and get lost in the memories!
    Have you thought to have some of your 'collection' digitalised? That will create more space and Terry would be so proud!! And it may make you feel better too with less-obvious stuff around. Just listen to me!! Have you seen my basement lately?!! lol

    1. Hi Jim! Isn't it fun? I remember on Ron's birthday a couple of years ago, when you posted an old photos, and my legs were in it. How funny was that?
      I'm working on digitizing, but Aperture (my photo archive) is acting up, and I've got the spinning wheel of death on my MacBook Pro. Something is not happy somewhere in my hard drive. So I've got to get over to Apple and figure out where I've screwed up. LOL! I have talents!
      And, oh yes, I've heard about your basement, but SD has intimated that Ron is just as bad as you!
      Have a good evening!

  16. Hello Fundy Blue! Thank you for your visit and kind comment. It's so lovely to meet another teacher. I love your Honeymoon photos. You are a beautiful couple. Do you know we never did go on a honeymoon. I guess that's why we travel so much. My husband must be making up for it.

  17. Thank you for your kind comment, too, Kay! I've been meeting really neat writers, travelers, and teachers on line. Traveling anywhere, anytime is wonderful, and I am enjoying your travels vicariously very much! Have a good weekend!

  18. I visited Cape Flattery in my late teens and I remember it being so very beautiful and awesome. I hope to visit again, wonder if I'd still feel the same. I'll check out Ghost Canoe too.

    1. Hopefully, it's still wild and beautiful. I'd love to visit it again too! Have a good one!


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