| What I’m Holding On To |

In the Bag

“Just toss it!” is the rallying cry of these weeks. But some items we simply can’t bring ourselves to discard. 9 writers share

My sister-in-law Estie is the most unsentimental person I know. She actually threw out — you won’t believe me — the paraphernalia from her husband’s proposal.

“We have the l’chayim pictures,” she shrugged. “Why would I save extra junk?”

I say she’s a cold fish, she says I’m a hoarder. Keeping the fax (remember faxes?) I sent my husband the Shabbos of his aufruf, my babies’ hospital bracelets, and the “gold” brooch my grandmother gave me in high school (those were all the rage pinned onto the lapels of our Shabbos coats) is not called hoarding. It means I have a heart. I’m nostalgic.

Doesn’t it?

Maybe one day the brooch will make it to a giveaway bag. (Wait, you thought I’d throw it out? So… no.) But no matter how many times I clean my closet, purging the clothes that will never again fit or the items that are embarrassingly 2017 (I have teenagers who care), there’s one bulging little sack that will be moved from shelf to corner, corner to shelf, but never, ever purged.

I have a brown faux leather pocketbook I bought in 12th grade that came with me to seminary. I never used it in Israel, but it ended up collecting all the letters I got over the year.

“Your Babba and I wish you a wonderful year filled with blessing and success, awaiting your homecoming! Love your Zaidy & Babba”

“Succos was great! The only thing you missed was bowling (again) and the big Frankel baseball game in Eisenhower Park. Zaidy hit a home run, Avi ran for him, their team won. We decorated 100 mini cupcakes for the Tikkun Leil Hoshana Rabbah and they were stunning. No one could tell they were Duncan Hines!”

“You heard the craziness with Mommy’s false labor… emergency C-section… the baby is yum! It was nuts that Ma flew the day after the bris to Shmuli’s bar mitzvah, but there’s no way she’d miss it! We had a blast, we really missed you!”

“I decided I’m sending along a tape recorder on these dates. Why should I get all dressed to answer the same dumb questions every time? I’ll just record myself and he can press play… Just for the record (no pun intended) I hope you know that when you come home, you’re starting shidduchim whether or not I’m engaged by then.”

“Hey Sis! Wazzup? Did you like the last tape we sent you?”

And so on and on and on. This bag is here to stay. I’ll open it up every decade or so, read, cry, laugh, cry some more… a tacky little bag in the back of a closet that contains my heart.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 734)

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