The hardest thing to give up

Back in about 1987 I was talking to a woman who was beside herself because she’d had an accident in her 1979 Mazda. Because of its age, although the damage wasn’t horrendous it was “totaled,” so insurance handed her a check rather than fixing it.

What caused her grief was the loss of the car. Nobody was hurt, it wasn’t her fault, the insurance covered its value, etc. No, it was that car. She loved that car. And she wasn’t poor. She could buy a newer, fancier, nicer car, but she didn’t want anything but that car. She could have gone on a quest for another 1979 Mazda—nope, that particular one was hers.

I don’t think it was her first car or anything. In her eyes maybe it had witnessed her life, a constant through ups and downs. For her it was like losing a prized pet or maybe even a family member.

Fast forward to the present and maybe I understand a bit. Mrs. L and I think it’s time to sell our camper.

Somewhere out there is a tee-shirt that says, “Sorry about how I yelled (screamed?) at you while backing the RV in last night” or something like that…yeah, I’ll own that. Mrs. L and I have had a few doozies under the stress of driving an oversized vehicle. And then there were a few repair bills and other dramas.

It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns, but damn we had some awesome times in it! It was our escape pod. It was so wonderful to climb in the cab on a Friday night and leave, go for some adventure, forget this rat race for a little while.

My head says it needs to go—renting the space, paying insurance, etc. My heart says no way, this is family. My head, (sadder-but-) wiser older brother that it is, will win. But my heart, a couple days ago, put my hand on the dashboard and said, “I love you.”

Tell me your tales of inanimate objects that you elevated to near persondom. Not necessarily a vehicle. Why do you play this guitar instead of any other? Why is that blanket the best one in the house? Why were you so bummed when a favorite kitchen utensil was lost? In other words, why do some inanimate objects endear themselves and others don’t?

How did you give them up? Any regrets, looking back?

When I was three or four years old, I started wearing a gold-and-brown-striped sweater that was oversized on my young form. We called it my “bee” sweater. I can be seen in several family photos wearing it.

When I got too big to wear it, Mom stitched some old baby clothes up into it, and I used it as a pillow for awhile. It survived move after move, up until our most recent trailer prior to this one. This last trailer had a severe mouse infestation, and the mice came in and tore that poor 30-year-old sweater to shreds. I think I cried as I threw it out.

[quote=“ekedolphin, post:2, topic:923149”
I think I cried as I threw it out.
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I think I understand. It’s weird how things become a part of us, isn’t it, especially at an early age? Losing that cherished thing is like losing part of ourselves, maybe?

Booze and Pets.

I’ve got a car that I dearly love. Will never give it up. And the best pairs of skis I’ve ever shreaded on. Edges are all cracked and ready to come off, but Goddammit! I’ll never give them up! Might not use them, but they staying with me!

When I was eight years old living in Germany back in the 1970s, a kid I knew was moving back to the ‘States to a warm location, so he sold me a red plastic sled (actually a toboggan) for one dollar.

Over the next two decades that sled moved with our family from Germany to Texas to California to Texas to Tennessee to Illinois, then back to Germany (two different houses), and finally to Virginia, where my former stepfather was going through and getting rid of all my childhood possessions after a divorce from my mother. Right before I left, I saw that sled in pile of things to be donated with my name still written on it with magic marker.

That was 20 years ago. The sled is still in my basement. I pulled my son around on it when he was little.

Guess what I didn’t find in Virginia? All of my childhood books. Those meant more to me than any sled. It’s the main reason I haven’t spoken to my former stepfather in 20 years. Well, that and the fact that he was an abusive POS to me growing up.

I have a Fisher-Price toy from the early '60s: a clock (made of wood :astonished:) that plays My Grandfather’s Clock when you wind it up–plus it tick-tocks. And, yes, it still works. Probably long after this old man dies.

(Edit problem)

Here’s a pic of the clock toy.

Sometimes I wish I could just walk away from all the things that I “own” (more like they own me sometimes) and start over, only acquiring those few things that I absolutely need, that would last me until I kick off. Unfortunately I would also have to walk away from my husband, who is an accumulator who hates to let go of anything. My attitude to things may be partly a reaction to that.

So no, there is nothing I couldn’t give up, except my husband (who, of course, is not a thing anyway).

MY SF books and magazines. They occupy more space in my house than I do. I spend more time on them, reading them, indexing them, than on any other inanimate thing. I started writing down when and where I got my books in 1968, and looking over my entries I can tell when I was and where I was.
I’m not dying until I catch up, so you can expect me to be around a mite longer.

Second was my '93 Saturn, which was so cool looking the teenage kid next door was impressed. It died protecting my wife who was driving it through an intersection when she got T-boned. The other car hit the driver’s side door, thanks to its body she was in the emergency room for a couple of hours and basically walked away. My replacement Saturn wasn’t nearly so cool. That’s the case of an inanimate object dying young.

Was it called ‘Rosebud’?

No, just a big plastic sled made in Germany. It says “BIG-RENN-UND SCHWIMM-BOB” at the top.

I just Googled this for the first time ever, and here it is:

P.S. I just wanted to note that this sled endears itself to me mainly out of nostalgia for my childhood and because I’ve had it so long. It’s not my most important possession by any means, though.

P.P.S. I still haven’t seen that film yet…

Here’s a 4 minute summary. The sled was his last happy memory before he was taken from his mother. He kept the sled his whole life, and it was his last thought before he died.

I had a plush skunk. Super soft. Last plushie I had, they rest i gave up or away. It just disappeared. Now, since I like wolves, family and friends have given me dozens of plush wolves. All very nice but not Skunky.

Cars, man. Some are just transportation and nothing more, some are way more than that. Like my first car, the '63 Chevy Nova wagon. My first, best freedom, my daughter’s first camping trip (aged one month lol) and so many adventures. Cost us $165 and I was so upset when it blew its transmission. Really wanted to fix it, asked my dad for help and his idea of helping was to haul the Nova away to be scrapped and “gifted” me his '69 Impala instead–V8 instead of straight six, required premium gas and plenty of it and worst of all you couldn’t sleep in the back. Still haven’t gotten over that one, over 40 years later.

Firefly, the bitchy little '89 Cavalier Z24 with the V6 and the 5 spd manual. Had bulletholes in it, no lie. Cost me a hunnert bucks and I had to tow it home but I brought it back to life and had so much fun rodding around Portland back in the day. Killed by a Waste Management truck, those dicks. RIP, Firefly.

Agnes Day, Agnes the First, '96 Toyota Corolla that hauled me and my boat out to Utah to go kayaking on the Green and Colorado rivers–twice. Dead reliable, comfortable, loved that car. Faithful and polite to the end, she waited until I was back from a good long trip before grenading her transmission within free tow distance. Good girl, Agnes.

Lots of other smaller items that have been a wrench over the years but I’ve learned to be Zen about it but dayum, the cars are SO hard to give up. Although the incredibly comfy dark blue cotton sweater with the interesting neck details and 3/4 sleeves I picked up for 50 cents at the Union Gospel Mission and wore constantly for the next ten or twelve years was tough–it was one of the first items of clothing I bought after I moved to Portland and I was unreasonably attached to it. Just got too raggedy eventually. Sigh.

Yep, I know the feeling. Here’s a theory about me.

When I was growing up, we didn’t have much money. We weren’t on food stamps but my parents were both Depression-era kids, so they didn’t waste money and they spread it thin. Levi’s jeans? K-Mart jeans are good enough. Etc.

So we’d get some gifts but usually it was modest. I hear about parents these days buying the kid a car when he’s 16 and that sort of thing was never ever in the cards for me. Still, when we did get a present it was special. And we better take care of it. That elevated it to more than a “thing,” in a way.

I can understand too an appreciation for cunning. When you get a product and dayum, they thought of EVERYTHING when they designed this! It’s like the product of the designers’ minds speaks to you. They tell me Apple products inspire a lot of this.

And finally, I once had a wok-shaped pan that I used for nearly everything. The metal was just the right thickness, it was Silverstone, neither too big nor too small. Eventually the nonstick coating started to peel so we got another one. Nope. Then another. No. So odd that in this mass-produced age you can’t replicate what you had…

I had an MG Midget back in the late 70s. I loved and hated that car so much! The entire time it was my only car and it was totally unreliable. I used spray starter anytime temperatures dropped below 50 F. Changing spark plugs needed done frequently and one plug was practically unreachable, always leading to bloody knuckles.

I had a fender bender that lead to my needing two headlight adjustment screws, which were unobtainable. I visited junkyards each weekend, but MG Midgets in the junkyard always had smashed front ends and no retrievable screws. Took months to find what I needed.

I wiped out once on a snowy road, doing a 360 before coming to a stop. Each time I drove I was tempting fate.

I finally sold it for a bit more than I’d paid. I still miss it.

I had a small fire in my house I could not find one time. The only thing I grabbed and took away from the house was a small jewelry box with an English setter carved into the marble top. I have had that box since about 1970 and for some reason it is attached to me. The dog looks just like my favorite dog from those days so that might be it.

Very true. Every time I’m forced to replace something, I wind up with worse than what I had.

I knew a guy who liked to tell the story of a sexy Italian who had once broken his heart. “They say you can’t find parts for Fiats,” he’d say, “but it isn’t true. Just look on the road behind you.”

That’s another aspect though, isn’t it? The more you suffer for a thing, the more invested you can become. It’s like a guy who can’t walk away from the craps table at Vegas because he’s in too deep. “Sell the Fiat? I just paid $500 to fix it!”

Heh. When I had my MG Midget fender bender (very minor), both headlights broke. I was on my way to work, when I got there I told my boss I had to go find headlights, as I’d not be able to drive home in the dark without them.

One of the dishwashers offered to help me out. He took my keys and I explained where my toolkit was in the trunk. A short while later he was back and I had two working headlights!

I took out my wallet to pay for the lights and he turned me down. I argued that I didn’t want him to be out the cash, and he laughed at me. He told me he hadn’t spent a cent. It took my naive self a long time to figure out what he’d done, and I was really ashamed to have played a part in it.