Shedding yearbooks

Lately I’ve been starting to get rid of stuff around the house, reduce the clutter, get rid of stuff we don’t need. (You’ll notice this is the debut of a new category ‘reuse-recycle-reduce’) It took me a while to get to this point where my emotional attachment and nostalgia for things has faded and become superceded by a more practical sense of ‘I don’t need this anymore. I don’t use it anymore. I don’t care about it anymore. Get rid of it.’

Problem is, I’m anal about getting rid of stuff responsibly, i.e. I want the stuff to go to a good home, or go to someone has a need for it and will use it. I don’t really want to simply dump it all on Goodwill, or into the recycling system, or god forbid, the trash.

For some things, it’s easy to find a home for them. Books and CDs are posted for sale on half.com and Amazon. Old magazines go to art students for projects. Empty flowerpots to a budding gardener. (Freecycle and Craiglist are great for finding people in need of ‘obscure’ items like wine corks and old VHS tapes. But it takes an awful lot of trawling.)

But things like my high school yearbooks . . . there’s very little demand for them. Yearbooks are posted for sale on ebay; but I wonder who buys them and why? Propsmasters for Hollywood movies?

“You’re getting rid of your yearbooks?” my friend exclaimed, surprised and aghast. He has all his yearbooks; not only did he work on his yearbooks, but he has very fond memories of his high school days. I shrugged. “Don’t you want to keep them so that you can remember how you looked in those days?” Shudder. If for no other reason, that would be enough to purge my yearbooks!

I went to 3 different high schools in 4 years (moi, le problem child). It was mildly traumatic to be sure, having to be a new kid on the first day of school, three years running. High school wasn’t so bad; but I don’t really keep in touch with many people from high school, and I live in a different town now. The value of my yearbooks as keepsakes and mementoes of those years has definitely depreciated.

I finally figured out that I could try donating them to archivists, i.e. local historical societies, alumni associations, etc. Ahh, the beauty of the Internet. I looked them all up, emailed them, and they all said “Yes!” I guess not too many people my age think about contributing to their 1980s yearbooks. I’m glad I’m managing to find a place for them where they are wanted. Since I’m too cheap to mail them (year books are heavy), I’ll just have to wait until I visit those towns to drop them off.

In addition, I have a series of school magazines from the small school I attended from Grade 1 – 8. That school didn’t publish a yearbook; instead they just took essays and artwork done by the students and compiled it into a ‘magazine’ each year (more like an annual). These weren’t necessarily the ‘best works’, it was more a case of ‘representative’ works. Plus they would mix and match every thing up. So on one page, there would be a series of ‘two-line stories’ written by first-graders, and the next page might be a monster story written by a sixth-grader. Maybe because of the text and stories, I like re-reading them, to relive some of those times. I’m not ready to give away those magazines yet. It’ll be a little while longer.

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