Posted by: dsduffy | February 18, 2009

The story of our stuff

It starts when we are kids, with either a coin collection or dolls, or if you grew up in the 80’s, maybe you had a sticker collection. Our connection with inanimate objects starts even earlier, with either a blanket or stuffed animal. We spend hours with our “stuff”, prized possessions sitting safely on shelves, secret diaries hidden in drawers. We wonder what we would grab on our way out if the house was in flames “teddy bear, photo album, diary.”

 Your first move is most likely to college and we leave most of our childhood “stuff” back at home, in our old bedrooms. We do a lot of growing up once we move out of our parents houses, and going back to see it all is like a trip back in time. Boxes of cassette tapes, high school notebooks and a jewelry box filled with peace sign earrings, half of a best friend charm, your name on a gold plated necklace. You might have even kept some clothes: concert t-shirts or the dress you wore to the prom. Then you get a place of your own and acquire more stuff: your grandmother’s silverware, hand-me-down plates, sheets and towels on sale from Bed Bath  & Beyond. You graduate from posters taped to the wall to posters in plastic frames, you can finally decorate your house the way you want to, show your own taste. And in the closet, lies a box of stuff, gathered from your childhood bedroom containing photos, keepsakes, memories from long ago. This box (most likely more than one) moves with you, and each time you come across it you look inside, rearrange things, maybe weed some stuff out. But seeing it again makes you smile. How can you throw this away? It has to come along with you on your journey.

I didn’t bring any of my “stuff” with me when we moved to Australia, I even gave my wedding album and the boy’s baby books to my mom for safe-keeping. My treasured high school yearbook, photo albums, birthday cards and mix tapes are boxed up and sitting in a storage facility in a town called Billerica. Even though I don’t need any of these items, it just feels weird not having them with me, not being able to pull out a photo album to show to the boys, so they can laugh at my hairstyles, accompany me on a trip down memory lane. Clear as day, I can see my well-worn yellow doggy stuffed in a box somewhere and it makes me a little sad that all this stuff has been left behind, for now.



  1. Now you have me thinking about MY “stuff”. I also have all the things that YOU talk about. Did I pass this on to you? I guess our “stuff” gives us comfort even if we rarely or never look at it, it’s just that secure feeling knowing it is still there should we need something. Whatever “stuff” you have in your rainbow room from your childhood, is safe with me. (remember your shoebox of eraser dust)? :0) Do boys save their “stuff” too or do their moms save it for them?

  2. Great post. I have lots of “stuff”, just ask my husband! Because my move here was a ‘forever’ move, I brought my “stuff”. Little by little, I brought it over. I still have lots of “stuff” in the basement of my mother’s house in Colorado. But, each time I go over, I pull out the boxes marked “Erin” and I go through everything. Each trip back to Australia, more of my “stuff” comes with me, packed in between new jeans and next to new shoes, underneath American candy and toiletries.
    I understand you missing your “stuff”. It is hard not having your whole life in one place. I can relate!

  3. I’ve been here for 8 years going on 9 and still don’t have all my stuff. Didn’t bring it originally as I wasn’t sure how long we’d be here for. Now with kids, I seem to have too much stuff to carry back and forth that I don’t have room to bring it back when we make our trips to the USA. I try and bring little bits if I can, but I’m not convinced I’ll ever get it all over here…and if I do I’ve no idea where I’ll put it!

    I’m also laughing because the stuff that is stored at my Mom’s house is almost exactly as you describe all the way down to the peace sign earrings! =)

  4. I am the queen of “stuff” I just can’t part with. Some of those items you mentioned are coming back in style! I just bought a very cool peace sign necklace and a scarf with peace signs, must be back in fashion as everyone is hopeful for peace these days. Lots of my “stuff” holds sentimental value and I love walking down memory lane whenever I get the chance.

    Yes, for those who are wondering, boys do have “stuff”! My boys still have their matchbox car collections and dinosaurs from when they were 3 yrs old, sports memorabilia, baseball cards, lego creations, stamps etc. etc. I wonder what they will do with their “stuff” when they are older!

    Your stuff will still be there, whether it is back home or in your heart. For now, I am sure you are collecting more “stuff” (photos included) that will remind you of your days in Australia. 🙂 Love!

    P.S. I remember all of your items mentioned very clearly, as if they were mine too. Let’s hope that the big hair styles don’t come back in style!

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