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by Barb, in Portland, Maine, where it’s hot today. (Hot means 84 degrees in Maine in July.)

My husband and I moved to Portland in the summer of 2017. Though our house is plenty large enough for two people, it doesn’t have a basement or an attic, so the move involved a lot of sorting and dumping. The truth was, the problem went back a ways. In last decade we have helped clean out three houses of my parents’ and two houses of Bill’s mother’s. My dad and both my grandfathers were only children, so a lot of stuff has wended its way in our direction.

We did pretty well with the cleaning, if I do say so myself. But when we hosted Christmas for the extended family in 2018, every box that hadn’t been unpacked by then got shoved into a closet.

I had the best of intentions. I was going to dig into those boxes as soon as we got home from Key West in April 2019. But…I had two books due and three wonderful weddings to travel to, family gatherings in Boothbay Harbor, ME and Stone Harbor, NJ and lots of book stuff–Malice and Bouchercon, Barbara Vey’s conference in Milwaukee and a Kensington Cozy Con.

Somehow the whole year went by. But this year, 2020, I had no excuses. No house guests. No dinner parties. No book contract. If the job was ever going to be done, it was going to be done now.

I’ve set up a folding table in the living room and I’m bringing down the boxes two by two, going through them in the evening as Bill and I watch TV. I’m not being ruthless, though I should be. Do I really need the Malice program from the year Fogged Inn was nominated for an Agatha? I decided to save the cover, the Agatha page, the Wicked ad, and my bio. The rest is gone. Which means it will all need to be gone through again. Unless I make that scrapbook about my writing life I keep threatening.

It’s been a walk down memory lane. That’s for sure.

I stared and stared at these notes trying to figure out what they were about. It’s the numbers of the photos from the photo shoot that resulted in the image on the cover page of this blog. I’m trying to figure out which photos are acceptable to all six Wickeds.
My daughter’s Christmas list from 1987. Little did we know that first item, Phoebe’s brother, would become Derek, the Cabbage Patch doll who traveled to camp and college, France, Italy and Australia. Now he and his extensive wardrobe live at Kate’s house with her two little girls
The case that should have contained my high school diploma but did not. I’m still a little bitter about it.
A collection of my old business cards. I have more somewhere from later in my career.
The recycle bag from this session. Paper maps from past travels, college papers (sadly not as brilliant as I remembered) and about fifty Playbills

Readers: Have you been #quarancleaning? Kondoing your condo? Shoveling your stuff? How do you decide what goes and what stays?

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