Monday, December 5, 2011

Hoard . . . or Treasure?

I'm hesitant to part with stuff. Things that may come in useful sometime, or perhaps create a link with the past - and who I am. I hang onto stuff such as a bin of galvanized pipe fittings. When I try to convince myself it should be recycled I recall that recently I used a short piece with an elbow fitted as a tool to break loose a stubborn fitting on my vintage car. Lumber and plywood cutoffs from past projects, deemed special for some reason, accumulate in garage corners, providing environmentally friendly habitats for black widow spiders.

I don't think of myself as a hoarder because occasionally the desire for order counterbalances the need to hang onto stuff. In the past the solution to the accumulation was to buy more plastic bins and build more storage shelves. Since there was no more space for additional shelves, and stuff was beginning to spill out onto the floor, it was time for a more creative solution. I needed more space for fun stuff like projects on my TR6. Time to go through those bins, sort, and toss.

Thus the last couple of weeks have seen dozens of plastic bins hauled out to the driveway. Trash and treasures appeared as I dug to the bottom of every one. Among the treasures was a beat up shoebox filled with aluminum Kodak 35-mm film cans. In each can was a tightly coiled roll of 35mm negatives, representing the early part of my years at San Rafael High School, when I had joined the camera club, and real instruction was beginning to feed what would be my lifelong love of photography. Each can had a numbered blue label. Somewhere, I thought, must be the key. And sure enough, a few days later it turned up buried in yet another bin. Oh, the joy.

Camera Club outing, Point Reyes, 1954

Scanning these long-coiled negatives will likely require mounting them in glass carriers, but I'm looking forward to revealing the treasures - family trips, camera club outings, even some 16-mm photos taken in school with a little "spy" camera.

The wrap up from all of this? I guess, don't worry about being a hoarder, especially if it includes family memorabilia. These are things that remind us who we are. And those plastic bins do a great job of keeping the stuff, useless and otherwise, safe from moisture, dirt, and rodents.

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