Last week, I was visiting my parents in the home I grew up in. As always, they sent me home with relics of my youth that they found too precious to part with but no longer wanted cluttering their closets. Often, these items are tiny time capsules that can bring a tear to my eye. Whether it is something large, such as my wedding gown, or it is something small, such as the Wonder Woman costume I wore every day for nearly a year when I was 3, each preserved item is more delicate than the next, surviving the passage of time only by the emotional weight that binds it.
This year’s loot was slightly different.
“Where do you want me to put the bag of penis-shaped headbands?” my mom asked.
This is not a normal sentence for my mom to speak. But this visit, my mom had decided that it was time to offload all the raunchy games, toys and, yes, hair accessories from my bachelorette party, so the questions couldn’t really be bypassed. Why she found the pin-the-ahem-on-the-hot-man poster something precious enough to keep for over a decade, she will have to answer.
That’s the thing about these relics of yesteryear. The decision to keep or dispose of them has always been my mom’s. I will cherish a moment’s visitation, but I personally don’t hold enough sentimentality in items to keep them. I’m a purger more than a hoarder. And though I may not have thought to keep the sash from when I won Little Miss Hagerstown or the playbill from the first theater performance I was in, it’s always sweet and charming to revisit those times.
Sweet and charming don’t really apply here, though.
“Just put it with the ‘long (blank) ring toss,’ Mom,” I responded.
We had to go through each item, you see, because the bag of bachelorette goodies held more than just phallic straws and naughty dice; it held other items my mom considered too precious to part with. For example, there was the framed certificate of admittance into the Duct Tape Club. The certificate includes my name and the names of my college friends in bubble letters. If you’re trying to connect it to the bachelorette toys in some BDSM way, I’m happy to say there’s no connection. We had made a shirt out of different-colored tape and thought we needed something to commemorate that amazing collegiate moment. There was also a princess mug with my name on it. I’m fairly confident Snow White needs therapy after being stuffed in a bag with the likes of those other items all these years, or perhaps living with seven men had sufficiently prepared her.
The fact that these items were preserved and were being handed back to me can only mean that the act of purging my existence from the house I grew up in is nearly complete. It’s like when you attend a yard sale late in the day and all the good items are gone and you are left sifting through used crayons, cassettes from bands no one has heard of and an exercise stepper that’s needed a new belt since the 1990s. We hit the bottom of the barrel of things precious to Katiedid, to the point that the last batch was not precious at all.
That said, I took home every last inappropriate item. Well, I took the naughty dice home; the other items I found homes for.
A friend of mine from college is getting married. We just happen to be getting together soon, so now I have all the tools for an impromptu bachelorette party, complete with a certificate of duct tape awesomeness. The naked men magazines that my high school friend scrawled commentary all over have been returned to said friend. She promptly left the magazine on her husband’s pillow, open to a decidedly exciting page, so he could read her thoughts from five years before they met. And the princess therapy cup sits next to me as I write this and reflect on what I assume was my final bag of goodies documenting my life at my parents’ house.
Mom was right; just like the Wonder Woman costume, this bag brought a tear to my eye — a laughter tear. Who says penis-shaped straws can’t be precious?
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book “Stop Farting in the Pyramids.”