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My Edited Life: Moving Day Identifies Real Treasures

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At last count I’ve moved 15 times, including the first cross-country move from Philadelphia to Seattle. I was on a tight budget, so most of my bulky belongings were purged via a series of stoop sales. What remained were my treasures: all of the art anyone has ever made me, photos, a decade of my design work for the City Paper, art school projects, all shipped to the West Coast  via UPS in a handful of boxes. And later, my stereo, records and tapes arrived, driven through the mountain passes by a brave friend. (The ultimate nod to “When Music Was a Thing”). I was happy to spend money on new hangers and spatulas, so long as I had my special trinkets surrounding me.

Then, after a decade plus in Seattle, it was time to return back East. This time, the technology of moving offered up an option to store my goods in a moveable pod. I could have loaded all my things into a bin the size of a tractor-trailer. But, I had to ask myself: what do I really need with me? It was easy to let go of the big stuff. And ultimately, everything fit into a 7×7 container: an “instant apartment” that would feel like home, wherever it landed.

While sorting through it all, I came to realize most of it was the same stuff that made the original move so long ago. And I wondered, now that I was a “grownup”, shouldn’t I have furniture and big appliances to care about? Instead, I valued the same hand-me-down stereo that had been with me since art school, the same records my pre-teen hands held, the gifted Lynda Barry books that were always at my bedside table.

Even the newer additions to my treasures were gifts from family and friends. A handmade “Oogie” Puppet (all you Jersey kids out there remember the Uncle Floyd show?) the shot glass collection, the Johnny Cash/Ramones shrine, jars of sea glass and pine cones.

I suppose everyone agrees, the real treasures are the little things.

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