The things we carry with us

So here’s another nostalgic thing we did this morning as we are preparing to depart.  We went down to pick out which travel-worn suitcases we’d use this time.  We ended up emptying the corner in our storage room that was stuffed not only with suitcases, but with travel bags of every size and variety that have accompanied us all over the world these last 30 years or so.  It was time to send these travel bags and cases to the local thrift store.

We filled the entire back of our car–probably with 50-60 pieces.  Many were BYU Travel Study bags and fanny packs from our international trips (one was my trip to Israel not long before I met John in 1990).  There were old WordPerfect bags and totes (today they call them “SWAG”), given out at special work events.  There were dozens of the kids’ old school backpacks, sport duffels and gym bags.  We had hanging garment bags no one uses anymore.   There were several of my old camera bags that held all my lenses and camera equipment in padded compartments.  I lugged those large bulky bags to every sporting event the kids participated in and I lugged them all over the world.  Now I slip my camera (phone) into my pocket (or bra).   We found  computer bags that matched the sizes of old laptops, now dead.  I found the bag I carried to BYU every day for about 10 years when I was an old student.  It held my notebooks filled with the treasures I was learning.   All these we once used and loved and carried with us.  Today we let them go.

It was interesting going through the bags and cases and zippered pockets, emptying them out.  I found a camera zoom lens.  There were lots of cough drops and old gum.  I found an old film canister.   My favorite was a toothpick holder full of toothpicks (before we had floss pics).  These forgotten little odds and ends accompanied us on our trips and to campus or work and back.  So many memories.  So many adventures.  So many things we carried with us.

It felt good to free the space and send these to new homes, but I also felt a little sad and nostalgic at the parting.

This evening I charged my old iPad and Kindle, thinking I might use those in Germany.  I asked Aaron to take a look at my iPad to see if it was working OK.  He took a look, then laughed at me.  “How OLD is this??” he asked.  I can’t remember.  Maybe 10 or 12 years??  He said “you should just throw it away and get a new one.”


Then I showed him my Kindle, new since our last mission, but not used much.  No one told me you have to keep the battery charged or it DIES.  “You can throw that away too,” Aaron said.  What an interesting day it’s been, seeing all the change through the years in what I have carried with me.

While we were on a roll, we decided to part with this pile of old X-Box controls and games.  I’m not the only one with outdated technology.  These haven’t been touched since the kids moved out.

Then at the last minute, I threw in 3 or 4 of my old beloved German Dictionaries.  We now have Google Translate in our phones–words at our fingertips.  Dictionaries are obsolete.  I had my favorite dictionary ready to pack, then it occurred to me that I’d never use it.  It’s not needed anymore.

I did hang on to this pictorial dictionary.  It has the words for every imaginable machine, process, sport, workplace, mode of transportation, household item, or event you might imagine, with diagrams and pictures, down to the smallest screws.  It offers a lot more than Google Translate.

So now, I am filling my bags one more time.  Some of my things are new, some have been with me in other places.  We are leaving behind the obsolete.  I wonder when it will be my last trip.  I wonder when that day comes if I’ll know it’s my last.  I hope I never know.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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