Treasures lost.


We read “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson in grade seven. I loved that book. I think I might read it again. Anyhow, part of the assignment was to make a treasure map. You were to incorporate details from the book and make it look authentic.

I drew mine on the back of a brown paper grocery bag. After it was done, my parents helped me age it by rubbing some kind of grease on it, dubbin perhaps. We also burned the edges before rolling it up for a few days. There might even have been a strategic application of ash.

I was one of two winners and we each received signed copies of the book. By our teacher, not the author. He also included a lovely note.He remains one of my favourites, that teacher. I had a very bad year in grade six for a lot of reasons, a rather hateful classroom teacher being one of them, so Mr. Doerksen was a pleasant change.

Not mine, but still fairly awesome.

I still have that book, along with a Garfield pin he gave me that reads, “ever have one of those days where you feel like you’ve eaten it all?” Somewhat prophetic given my eating disorder, but it was given to me because I always had a bag of gummies from the corner store.

You eat a lot of sugar when you don’t eat enough food.

I still have that pin too.

I don’t, however, have the set of “Little House on the Prairie” books that my godmother gave me once upon a time. I donated a large pile of my children’s books during one of my minimalism purges. I regretted it almost immediately, and I’ve replaced many including the boxed set, but it’s not the same.

I also don’t have the dress my mother made me for Christmas when I was ten. Back when we dressed up for Christmas. It was a pink and purple long floaty thing and I loved it. I do have the nightgown she made, and a later dress, but I wish I had that one still. Ditto the rather ugly yellow sweater my grandmother crocheted for me once upon a time.

Not the dress I’m talking about, but another awesome one she made.

My relationship with my grandmother is complicated what with her being abusive towards my mother, but also her being the grandmother who I loved and who did wonderful things like buy me tiny loaves of bread from the bakery up the street when we came to visit.

And who sometimes said nasty things to me too.

I don’t have my first car anymore. I loved that 1981 Honda Civic station wagon. It was awesome, especially once I learned about adding water to the battery, and about not adding oil every time you got gas. I’ve loved other cars – the bright red Chevy Cavalier I got after my life blew up twenty years ago as a revenge car springs to mind. But you never really get over your first.

I also no longer have the Rare Beauty highlighter compact. I bought it two weeks ago and it’s a thing of beauty if one can say that about a makeup product. It quickly became my favourite, even more than the Morphe peach palette I also just acquired. I’m perhaps fickle when it comes to favouriting transient products.

It felt like silk. It looked beautiful on the skin. It looked markedly less beautiful spread out on the tiles of my bathroom floor. I dropped it this morning. If I have one complaint about the product it’s that it’s challenging to open. I bobbled it as I was trying.

But the compact I can replace. Other lost treasures and favourites I can’t. They were one and done, unique in the world and to me. It’s all very well to simplify and cull the things that don’t spark joy. Be careful, however, that you don’t cut too close to the bone. Be careful that you don’t misunderstand the assignment. Some things may not spark joy in the moment, but have an infinite capacity for it over a lifetime.

Regret is not my favourite at all.

Not mine but just like mine.

(protip – hold onto what you’re culling for at least six weeks. It gives the brain time to think it through. Nothing worse than buying your own things back from the thrift store unless it’s being too late)

Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens.

15 thoughts on “Treasures lost.

  1. Nicely done. I, too, had a less-than-gracious teacher in grade six. She was the first teacher, but not the last I corrected in class. She sent me to solitary until lunch. When she came to commute my sentence to apologizing for disrupting class, she told me she was always right, no matter what the text said.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a terrific post! I also was gifted the Little House on the Prairie Books set, by my aunt. Sadly, I no longer have any of my childhood books. When I left my first husband, I walked out the door with just a suitcase, and did not recover many of my cherished items. His second wife, who immediately moved in after I left (that’s a story for another day) ended up either destroying my memorabilia and treasures or donating them to charity. I’m still sad about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing your childhood picture. It is so cute. and thanks for the tip about thinking twice before disposing of old things. Decluttering is one of the goals for me this year – I will keep your suggestion in mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I certainly look like it’s a good day. I like to start the new year with a clean slate but I’ve learned to my cost that it can be too clean 😂


  4. Our first car was a ‘75 Chevy Nova: it had a couch for a back seat, no radio (cue battery powered boom box), only lap seat belts, and the brights were a button you stepped on while driving. It does on the way to take the driver’s test. Oh the OCD and anxiety even back then!

    We cherish a morphe pallet gifted us by Younger Child. OCD has us ration using it. We hoard new things. And old things lol.

    Our birth family used myth to hide everything and so we don’t really know what grandparents were like but we loved one grandma.

    We live in minnesota so little house was kind of party of the culture. We actually love prairies, about 98% of which is now agriculture. Prairies are a model of resilience. No rain? No problem! With taproots up to 12-feet deep, they can find moisture 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d forgotten about the floor button. For years, my father tricked us into thinking he could control the lights with his mind.

      I hold my things tightly too. Something missing is a cause of huge panic for me.

      I’ve never lived in the prairies but I’ve always thought that those who do must be resilient. Prairies seem to me to be environments of extremes.

      Liked by 1 person

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