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Nostalgia, Shrugged and Purged

Since moving out over fifteen years ago, my parents have gradually turned my childhood room into a convenient place of extra storage.

You may have even experienced this yourself.

Every return visit home for the holidays lands me in the nostalgia of that room, but this past trip I decided to clean things up a tad, purging my room of one giant bag worth of unneeded dust collectors and box-fulls of once thought collectable collectables for goodwill.

Mego, Star Trek, Captain Kirk, William Shatner, Mr. Spock, Leonard Nimoy

But the purge of old school papers, comic books and deluxe letterboxed editions on VHS was not without the score of some cool  memories and attempts to pawn them off to a younger generation.

With my 10 year old nephew and 8 year old niece by my side, we pilfered through the bookshelves and desk drawers that, for some reason, I never got around to bringing to New York and my parents never felt the need to get rid of.

As hard as I tried, I couldn’t convince my nephew to take my old copy of Encyclopedia Brown (he’s infatuated with John Grisham’s Kid Lawyer currently).  I did manage to move an unused Lava Lamp to my niece.

Although I had success this year in giving my nephew E.T. on DVD, he laughed hysterically at the cassette (“what’s a cassette?”) with Michael Jackson and E.T. on the cover.  I guess it wasn’t as weird a concept to us in 1982.

A pile of RCA SelectaVision discs proved even more difficult to explain.  Not when we could download that classic Rankin/Bass version of The Hobbit from iTunes faster on his iPod Touch than I could hook up this relic from the home video salad days.  Into the eBay pile these went.

Items thought to be long gone were rediscovered too.  Original Mego Star Trek figures of Spock and Kirk made my day, and my trip back to my New York apartment.

Some of those Burger King Empire Strikes Back drinking glasses surprisingly stayed intact through the decades, but they’re not as collectable as you would think.  Also, I’m pretty sure they were discovered to contain toxic paint, or something like that.  Best left to the memories and eBay.  Sell or sell not, there is no try.

The most egregiously unnecessary collected items on a shelf were hands down those clamshell “masterpiece” Disney animated classics.  From the get go, the company successfully gave an illusion that these would go into the vault, never to be seen again, yet only to be rereleased in each new video format.  But, like any classic rock LP banished to the 99¢ box at your local struggling record shop, the millions of tapes sold rendered these worthless. These I can let go of, knowing their average value per tape runs less than the cost to ship to a buyer.

Couldn’t even interest the kids in some classic Heathcliff and Peanuts cartoon compilations.  Do kids even read cartoon strips any more?  Not this niece and nephew for sure.  As I just barely tolerated back-to-back episodes of their Disney Channel drivel, I wondered why not.  These paperback serial installments of corny comic humor were imperative in the formation of my sense of humor today.

I found reel-to-reel audio tapes from past Broadcasting classes and tried to explain to the kids what audio tape was.  Why was I holding on to these reels containing course-work I’ll most likely never revisit?  Into the trash those went, along with the nostalgia that kept them on the shelf.  The GarageBand App on my nephew’s iPad could run circles around any razor-blade spliced 30 second spot from my Radio Production 101.

By the end, I left less cluttered room that my parents could pile more of their crap into, my niece and nephew landed a handful of generic items with no pop culture significance and I managed to convince myself it’s completely rational to display those Star Trek figures next to my Criterion Blu-rays.

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