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"Pack Up All My Care and Woe…"*

Sunday, July 11: 9:10 a.m.

I am swimming in my memories. What a mess!

It’s not easy packing up dishes, platters, pots and crystal. No fun, but I have no huge emotional investment in stuff.

Not so, with people. Ghosts of my past swirling about me. Mental snippets of thousands of stories I’ve written. A lifetime of people with whom I’ve engaged in researching and writing them.

Ghosts of all the different people I was over the years…

More than three decades of professional journalism. Radio. Television. Magazines. And more than my work. My education. My times. A lifetime. And I feel like a failure because deep down, I blame myself for losing this house. But I press on.

Where is all this stuff ~ not only the books ~ going to go? How many boxes will it take to pack it all up? Which ones will be unpacked. Which ones will stay in boxes. Where will I put them in this new house? Will they fit? A big Blue Box is slowly filling up with all the stuff I’m discarding. But what if I want to find something I need? What will I need? How can I know, now?

Will I ever need…?

Last month I read a story on downsizing by a local journalist, Jane Tabor, who outlined the emotional decision-making involved in “emptying the nest,” now that her youngest child was going off to university. She’s moving into a townhouse with no basement, like ours. And you know, there’s an expert to help you decide what to keep and what not to keep.

“She charges $60 an hour and is much like a personal trainer. Instead of encouraging or cajoling you into doing another rep or lifting a heavier weight, she (ruthlessly) challenges you into giving stuff up – the collection of our son’s orthodontic moulds, our daughter’s Grade 8 graduation dress… ”

There’s only one difference. We’re newlyweds, celebrating just our 10th wedding anniversary next month. This isn’t easy.

Mind you, it’s never easy…

You still have to make those decisions. But how? I’ll keep the only bottle of booze I have here, but it’s special. My late father’s Scotch. Johnny Walker Green Pure Malt. I bought it for him years and years ago. Long before he died in October 2000. He was the only person who ever drank it.

But there is a rule a rule about throwing out stuff…

Continued… “Here I go, singing low…”* Part 2

*The refrain of the 1926 song Bye Bye Blackbird has been playing in my mind all day. It won’t stop. Its meaning is and always has been ambiguous. But then, songs always mean something different when you put the lyrics in emotional context. I love the lyrics of this song because of its ambiguities. Many are happy and hopeful, but today, I feel dark and doubtful. Like the weather. The words keep playing and replaying in my mind, today.

"Pack Up All My Care and Woe…"*

Sandy Naiman

Sandy Naiman is a Toronto freelance journalist.

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APA Reference
Naiman, S. (2010). "Pack Up All My Care and Woe…"*. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 11 Jul 2010
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