Personal Archaeology #101

Jan 29, 2018 | 2 comments

Office Corner

The older I get, the worse this Making Order Out of Chaos becomes. This clean out and clean up campaign that seems to descend upon us at the first of every year is fast rocketing into the impossible realm.

It’s not that there is such an accumulation of “stuff” that needs organizing or throwing out.  It’s that I can’t really remember what this or that project was all about, what my intentions were, and how far I got into the entire mess.  Sad.  Very sad.

In the Back Forty

My office is scary enough with its stacks of carefully sorted (they must have been) photographs that I have no memory of – was it an idea for a book?  And all those disparate sticky notes with addresses or phone numbers with no names attached.  Copies of corrected first drafts of columns – were they aborted or did I finally complete them by taking another tack?  It is a morass.

And then there are the weird things like two sparklers with a ribbon tied ’round them or the unopened package with a 2010 postmark containing a VHS tape cassette marked ‘Ocean Park.’   No way to play it anymore…  no idea where it came from.  I might as well be discovering things at a Byzantine archaeological site.

Back Forty Some More

This year’s excavation has been complicated by the addition of a new domain which, fortunately, is being overseen by my very able and more mentally astute husband.  He has taken on the Back Forty – that catch-all area between garage and laundry room which holds the treasures and discards of five generations.

Nyel has at least two major things going for him in this endeavor:  1) for the most, part he has no sentimental attachment to the ‘treasures’ and 2) he has a Master’s Degree from UW in Museum Studies, so he has more knowledge than most as to the historical value (read mostly none) of various items.  Plus, of the two of us, his memory is the better one.  He can at least identify things that have been “saved” since he came into the family, even though he can’t always explain the why part.

So far, we’ve have filled a half-dozen big black garbage bags, shredded or burned several trees worth of paper, and have made four car-filled-to-the-brim trips to Goodwill.  And I’m here to tell you, we haven’t made a dent.  And speaking of why… Why are we doing this, anyway?


  1. Bill Svendsen

    A friend of ours, Cal Scott, has a song on his latest album you might like called “Dig Down Deep.” I’ll send you an MP3.

    • sydney

      Thanks, Bill. Maybe his song will lift my spirits and speed me toward completion of this project. (Not that there is ever completion!)


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *