Local Commentary

Our Man in Arlington

I have been rooting through huge amounts of memorabilia for the past several days; four old suitcases and four large boxes to be exact.

This activity was generated by a notice I received from my condominium’s manager that I could, at last, have a large storage bin in a storage closet on my floor. It has taken six years and two moves of my stored stuff to achieve this much sought-after goal.

Since I had to move the boxes anyway, I decided to move the memorabilia into my office to see if I could sift through it and throw out unwanted, inconsequential, and duplicate materials. It was not as easy as it sounds – and it took much longer than I expected since every item brought back memories that I had to ponder over at some length.

First there were huge scrapbooks from my mother’s and father’s youth – birth through college. There were my parent’s baby pictures with numerous relatives at the turn of the century – the 19th to the 20th, that is. My mother’s thick high school scrapbook with dance cards (anyone remember those), party invitations dried flowers, club pins, pictures and newspaper clippings largely describing elegant social events. My father’s was filled with the pictures and stories of a very active athletic career at Wilmington High School and the University of Delaware. Of course these were all keepers.
Then I came across similar materials from my childhood and school days, though they were centered not on an athletic life, which was virtually non-existent for me, but academics, student activities, debate, dramatics, and music (I played the clarinet and bass clarinet in my high school band and orchestra). More full scrapbooks; more stuff I just couldn’t part with.

On a darker note, there were several hundred sympathy cards and notes offering comfort in the death of my first wife and my mother, two months to the day apart.

Then there two boxes of political stuff reflecting the active political lives of both myself and Jean almost from birth. Hundreds of brochures, buttons, newspaper clippings, pictures that we would never part with. The most dramatic stuff was the meticulous documentation of my run for the County Board in 1975. I was running in tandem with Steve Krum for one of two open seats on the board. Endorsed by both the Democratic Party and Arlingtonians for a Better County, we couldn’t lose. But we did. I remember every painful moment, and looking at all the stuff did not help!

Let that be a lesson to those benighted souls who say a Democrat can’t lose in Arlington!

Of course, there was a lot of stuff about our children, though we have already transferred much of that to their own boxes of memorabilia. And hundreds of personal letters and photographs dating back to the mid 1920’s. Remember the good old days when we actually communicated with our family and friends with hand written letters!

It was a great few days, but I did not succeed greatly in reducing the volume until I came across a large box of financial data dating back at least twenty-five years. Into the shredder! Actually, into the shredder which will be available on Saturday in the parking lot of Mt. Olivet church on Glebe Road, sponsored by Civitan.

Maybe I’ll see you there with some of your old boxes of memorabilia.