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All these boxes bring back lots of memories

POSTED: January 25, 2009 1:00 a.m.

As I write this, we are in the midst of moving.

I come from a somewhat nomadic family. My mother was the daughter of a sharecropper and they lived in the tenant houses of the landowner where they were sharecropping.

My paternal grandfather died when my father was 4. My grandmother moved to Atlanta with four little boys and they moved a few more times, according to my father's school records.

I, too, have lived in several places in our state.

My least favorite place I ever lived was in a motor home near Macon. I joined a gym there just to have a place to take a hot shower.

My favorite place as a single man was when I rented a room from a nice widow woman. I didn't pay much rent and in return, I picked up the bridge club on Tuesday nights. Every other Wednesday, I would drive them to the nearest wet town to pick up some snake-bite medicine.

The current move is going better than I expected.

First of all, I hired a couple of strong men to lift stuff. I have determined that I am a much better moving supervisor than a mover.

For those of you who have never seen me in person, I am both overweight and under-tall.

In the past, I always seemed to have found taller friends who were willing to help me move. I didn't do well in physics, but if you have the lower end by virtue of height, you tend to get the brunt of the load. At least, that's my experience.

My wife subscribes to one of those women's magazines that always has a January issue telling you how to get thin and organized. I've read them every year. The bottom line is simple: Don't eat bread and throw out stuff you haven't used in a year.

I can't do it on either count.

I tend to reminisce as I pack up. Every piece of unused stuff has a great story, and being a professional storyteller, I have to tell it.

I sit there with an open box and holding some little knick-knack that meant something in an earlier time. As I launch into the story, my wife rolls her eyes and walks out of the room. I spend the next 45 minutes talking to myself, a problem that will be addressed in the February edition of that same woman's magazine.

Being a sentimental soul, I tear up when I find something that was a special memory of my parents or my brother, who have all passed away.

I am ditching the stuff that doesn't work or isn't worth repairing. I'm still struggling with things like the suit I wore to the Jimmy Carter inauguration. Even if I go on the watermelon-and-dill-pickle diet from the March issue of that women's magazine, I'll never be that small again.

It's in really good shape for a 32-year-old suit, and you could narrow the lapels and use the leftover cloth to make a nice scarf or headband for five or six friends.

If you need it, call me.

Harris Blackwood is community editor of The Times. His columns appear Wednesdays and Sundays.



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