About Me

I am a second-career teacher. In my other life, I crunched numbers as an accountant. Probably would have made a great math teacher had the thought occurred to me. No matter, I'm where I'm supposed to be; teaching third grade. Before that, 2nd grade and before that kindergarten. I have 2 grown daughters, 2 poodles, and 1 hubby. I live and work on Long Island.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Process of Dismantling

I can’t throw anything out. Just cannot bear to part with even the most mundane of things.

How can I get rid of these “things” when they represent memories? Memories of my dead parents, my daughters as babies, the beginnings of my love affair with my husband, and of me…… as my former self.

Try as I might to dismantle the stuff, I end up getting stuck. Traveling back in time, I fondly recall each news clipping, photograph, birthday card, slip of paper, knick-knack, or *tchotchke that grabs a special piece of my heart.

Problem is, my entire “back room” is filled with these memories. There are times (Hello August!) when I commit to clearing out the room. It would make a lovely writing space. But as I sort through, I end up getting stuck on one memory or another. And although I do fill up a garbage sack or two, most of the stuff just gets moved around from one spot to another.

Olivia Judson, author of the New York Times column The Opinionator suggests we can’t part with stuff because we just might want (or need) to take another look. In her series The Task, Ms. Judson expresses her own inability to throw out and so…I feel justified by my own. She brilliantly captured my fear of erasing the physical presence of my parents from this earth.

But what about the stuff that isn’t part of my parents’ legacy? As long as it’s around, this crap is causing chaos in my otherwise orderly house and MIND! My refusal to dismantle it is somehow linked to the curious reasons for my attachments. And until I figure it out, my crap keeps me in a state of limbo.

*Urban Dictionary.com defines a tchotchke:


  1. I think we get rid of "crap" when we are ready to let go. Especially if it belonged to those we really loved.

  2. Two of my friends came to help me clear my basement last fall. They looked at things with neutral eyes. I could not have done what we did without them. Now I can walk down the basement without feeling stressed (mostly, as I still see the boxes that I need to go through). Your time will come too!


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