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Storing things is essential to handling life

It had to be done, but it wasn’t easy. Over the weekend I consolidated two rental storage units into one. By the clock it took about 10 hours spread out over two Saturdays. By memories, it took more than two decades.

A sympathetic friend said, “Yeah, it’s like going through a time capsule.”

No, it’s even more complicated. My storage units are more like horizontal Grand Canyons. The oldest memories are way in the back and the newest stuff is what fell on my head when I opened the doors.

That means the divorce was tucked way in the back corners. Then comes the boxes and books, letters, memories and all those little things I couldn’t discard when I got a place of my own.

Next came Huckleberry’s things. When my basset hound died, it was all I could do to pack up her pillows, toys and wicker bed and lock the door in tears.

Then I found all of the medical equipment I stored away when my mother died after a long illness — the wheelchair, the special cushion with its air pump, the inflatable mattress, the commode, the bags of lotions, powders, dressings for pressure sores — all things I couldn’t face that day she died. So, like Huckleberry’s things, I put them in storage and locked the door.

Then there were the letters from long ago, boxes of pictures, a big suitcase packed with souvenirs of trips to France, clothes I couldn’t imagine ever wearing, bank and tax records I was too afraid to throw away.

Buried beneath boxes of books, I found my Peace Corps trunk with all of its shipping labels and custom seals. Fortunately the lock was broken because I have lost the key. Inside were pictures and momentos of my trek through South America before I returned to the states in 1969.

Then, I found my Grandpa Wisener’s 1881 Atlas of Auglaize County, Ohio, with its pen and ink drawings of every business, farm and home as they appeared in the year Grandpa was born. There is even a first-hand account of the burial of Chief Blackhoof, who led the tribe of Shawnees whose settlement predated the town of Wapakoneta on the banks of the Auglaize River. The house where I grew up on Silver Street is just a short distance from Blackhoof’s burial site.

My goal was to get rid of both storage units, but I was lucky to consolidate the two into one.

And then it hit me, as I made my final trip to Goodwill, storage units, whether they are attics, basements or just the back of your mind are vital places where memories can be tucked away until you are ready to face their implications.

Donna Wright, health and social services reporter, can be reached at 745-7049.

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