From the Blog

Ten Years Ago, Part 1.5

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A related tangent. Here is an after effect of relocating frequently: an unwarranted familiarity with items that would normally be lost and forgotten. Every time I move, which for the past 10 years or so has been once a year or sometimes twice a year, I purge more items that I have been lugging with me from place to place. Over state lines, from apartment to apartment, for years and years. Do I need to save receipts from Ikea from a year ago? No. Do I still need my photography final from 10 years ago? No. How about research papers from high school, in my pointy, repressed handwriting from before the days of word processing? No.

Every time I move, I throw some things out. Often though, I save them. And I get the false idea that I “know” where everything is, because it seems like I saw them not that long ago. Whenever I last moved. Undoubtedly, whatever I’m looking for is in a box somewhere.

For the past few days, I’ve been looking for the notebook where my dad and I took notes as we drove across the country. We noted how many cops we saw, how many miles we drove, how much gas we put in the car, how many roadkills we saw and what type. We noted the times we crossed state lines. We rated our meals, even our fast food lunches. I didn’t like Subway back then, either.

I know I have seen this little notebook around. I have dozens of old notebooks that I kept as years worth of angsty diaries (that I will share here one day), but this one notebook has always seemed to float around in my stuff by itself. It pops up in random places amidst my other history. I’ve thumbed through it. My handwriting, my dad’s handwriting, all very familiar.

Now I’ve been looking for the ubiquitous little notebook for days and it has eluded me. I’ve searched with about 75% thoroughness and I’m surprised and a little frustrated. 75% is pretty thorough, all things considered. Especially when it seems like I see this notebook all the time. “All the time” actually means “probably months ago,” but that doesn’t lessen my frustration.

I want to find this notebook so I can continue telling my story. Our trip is certainly strong enough in my memory to write without it. And of course, no story is quite so true without at least a little creative recollection. But there are details. Like how we were rear ended by a red Corvette in Iowa, and how we were chased by a tornado in Nebraska, or how we had a snowball fight in Wyoming. I have all that noted. In my missing notebook.

I will search some more. Maybe with 85% thoroughness.


  1. ah yes. re-reading things written in the past… always a thigh slapper!
    I purged, big time, when i moved to redding. one of the things i saved though, was a lunch bag full of hand-passed notes from my freshman year. Most of the subject matter is lost to history, but the nostalgia when i look through them is just fantastic.

  2. Meredith says

    I have a big, heavy bin full of high school & college papers, reports, essays that I kept. I don’t know why. Most of it is creative writing that I thought I should keep, but I haven’t gone through it in years, like 9 years now. I’m not ready to go through it all yet.

  3. I think the only solution is that you’ll have to move again. You’re sure to find it then. Good luck. And happy 4th of July

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