Gonna Take A Sentimental Journey…

Pam Pollock
April 2024

I will ‘fess up right off the bat that I am a packrat, a hoarder and junk collector.  I am also the sentimental keeper of family photos, trinkets, cards, and well… just about everything.  We’re in the process of shuffling and moving around items (and also GASP! – tossing a lot of junk in the dumpster) from two houses. I feel a little like Alice in Wonderland, I’ve gone down a rabbit hole and have been taken on a sentimental journey.

One man’s trash is probably my treasure.  We actually truly have a lot of treasures – including the wooden carriage (pictured above) that was handcrafted around the 1930-1940s by my husband’s great-grandfather.  Stephen’s (my husband’s great-grandfather) wife died in 1918 and he raised their 7 children.  He was an incredibly talented man who created 2  carriages, wooden Church, a ship, and a wonderful and intricate end table. 

I’ve unearthed cards from my Mom, aunts, and cousins with handwritten notes expressing how much they love and appreciate us.  I found my very old Barbie doll case, a purse from Mexico on our trip down there when I was 4 or 5 years old.  Keepsakes tucked away include the very dress I was wearing on May 18, 1982, when my husband asked me to go on our first date.  There’s Halloween costumes, including so many beautiful ones hand sewn by my sister-in-law Sharon; handmade cards and artwork from when my daughter and son were just wee sprouts, and childhood books.  Tucked away is the infant Pittsburgh Pirates baseball jacket that my brother Jack gifted to my newborn son 36 years ago. My brother also made me moccasins that he hand tanned from deer leather.

I recently found a crocheted Easter basket that was lovingly made by my Aunt Betty and a sweater that my mother-in-law Audrey made for Steve.  Sometimes I come across something that just seems so bizarre that I wonder why on earth did I keep that and then, upon reflection, a hilarious memory bursts forth and I am left bent over double in laughter – which is what I experienced when I discovered 6 pairs of ladies underwear  with the days of the week handwritten in a black magic marker by Dad in my cedar chest.  When I was in my 30s, I shared with my Mom that I was always secretly sad that I never had days of the week underwear like the cool girls in elementary school.  She felt bad because I had never expressed my desire for said underwear.  Imagine my surprise when I opened a package on my birthday and inside were those underwear, made especially for me.  My Dad cheekily wrote Saturday on one pair with an arrow instructing me to turn the undies over and the other side had Sunday emblazoned on it!

Time is flying by and I am getting older by the minute.  So many of my loved ones and relatives have died in the past 3 years.  On the days when I feel like I am adrift in the ocean with my sorrow and sadness, I hit the pause button in life and take a little sentimental journey.  I realize that I am rich beyond measure – maybe not monetarily, but most assuredly in memories and moments that I will always treasure.