The recirculation of things


I wrote recently about the “100 Things Challenge.” I got a lovely response from a new WordPress blogger who writes under the name LearnShareChange, about how difficult it is to get rid of things because of our sentimental attachments to them.



How horribly true!



I love things, all kinds of things.  I am sentimental about them.  I have odd little things from my childhood, things that (somehow!) I have saved for almost fifty years.  One is a prize from a bag of Fritos sometime in the early 1960s, a little plastic coin with a picture of Laika the Russian space dog. It was a Heroes of Space series, and I loved that little dog.



Over the years, I have accumulated so many more things.  Books, and collectibles, and clothes, and gadgets.  Bags of them, boxes of them.



But – and here’s the funny thing about it – when someone sees one of my things and says: “I really like that,” I almost invariably give it to them.  Without hesitation.



They are startled, but they almost always take it.



My dear friend Sylvia calls this “the recirculation of things.”  She’s a collector too: dolls, toys, all kinds of things.  But she’s the way I am.  She wants things to keep moving.  (Her husband passed away last year, and she spent a lot of time giving away things afterward; she’s given me some lovely silver spoons, and a set of Bugs Bunny tumblers.)  She (like me) loves to own things, and see them, and have them for a while, but that’s usually enough: when someone else says that they like the thing, she gives it to them. 






As do I.



I love toys.  I adore stuffed animals.  I even keep them in the office.  But when I see the child of a co-worker admiring one of the funny little bears up on the shelf, I usually let them know that, if there’s an animal they can’t live without, I will let them take it.






They are just things.  Just silly things.  I suppose there are a few things in the house I couldn’t stand to live without: my Laika coin, and my old teddy bear.  And I think my brother still has my moon-globe in his garage; I was given it for Xmas 1969, five months after the first moon landing, and I still think about it. (I should ask him about that.)  And a handful of other things, small things mostly, with family significance, mostly worthless. 



Those things I will never give away.



Everything else, you can have, I think. 



Fifty years from now, it won’t matter to me a bit.


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

3 Responses to The recirculation of things

  1. StarlitWishes says:

    I’m alike that too, I love collecting all kinds of things – coins, used stamps, stuffed toys, old greeting cards, you name it, I have atleast a few of everything. The only difference is, I’m usually so attached to them I can’t imagine parting with them; even if it’s something I didn’t even remember I had. But I’ve recently begun giving things away, as you do, if someone asks for it. Though I find myself missing it for a little while after, even if I went years without seeing the thing before.

    • I understand. Sometimes I think of a thing that I’ll almost certainly never see again – an old stamp album (now lost), or something from my childhood bedroom – and have a real pang of loss. But I keep trying to tell myself: they’re just things. (It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it helps, a little.)

      • They ARE just things, but sometimes, I find myself more attached to them than I should be. So it can be very hard to let go, for example, of an old pair of earrings that a friend takes a liking too. But you’re right, it is worth giving it away when you get that smile of gratitude mixed with surprise.

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