Recycled Me

05/11/2021 1 By BuddyCushman

Monday’s a recycle day on this street. This street in Portland, Oregon where I magically appeared some 11 years ago, and from which I will leave one final time at month’s end. I admit that the water’s around me have grown, and the times are a-changing.

Anyway, sometime late morning or early afternoon the recycle truck rolls to a stop and sends out it claws which grab and flip the blue recycle container up and over, its contents fluttering down into a growing pile ending up where I have no clue. But, not some landfill, which is the point, which is important and good. Yesterday, a Monday, the recycle container belonging to this house was heavier than usual, and chock full.

I spent much of Sunday – Mother’s Day – pulling Spenser’s t-shirts and miscellaneous paraphernalia out from the front of his closet so I could get to the multitude of boxes and bags I had dragged into this house those 11 years ago, and, it turns out, most of which I’ve been hauling back and forth across the country and one Massachusetts town after another for the majority of the years of my life. I was able to be in Spenser’s closet for a bunch of hours without him losing his unique mind about me touching even one thing because I’d arranged for a two-night overnight with his real-soon-to-be new family. That’s smart social work, ease the transition of such an abrupt coming change – and smart self-preservation, allowing me a slightly less emotional move-out experience.

Except it wasn’t. I pulled out box after box and with my large recycle bag at arm’s reach, went through all the papers and letters and awards and fiscal threats and come ons and bring downs and memory after memory of most of my life. And, with rare exception it all went into the bag, and me and the bag went out a number of times to the recycle bin outside, filling up with bits and pieces of my past little by slow. But steady on. And I do not say this with ease or in any way glibly – it hurt and broke my heart to throw (recycle) many of those things away and there were a few I just could not – but mostly I did. Because I’ve got to go and I’ve got to take every last bit of me with me, and I say say that not angry or feeling like some powerless victim. This is simply my story today. Clean out the closet, Bro.

One of the pieces of history I came upon Sunday was a browned and faded copy of a section of the New Bedford Standard Times, which was the area daily growing up, and on the front page of the “local” section were pictures of a number of area July 4 parades and right there on the top right corner was a picture of the Wareham parade – my hometown, – and my mom all dolled up in some historical outfit – looking radiant and beaming and happy. My mom was not always happy and she passed away back in 2005, but she looked joyful that day so it felt like this very big Mother’s Day blessing and gift for me. Truly. And after a while the Standard Times went into the recycle bag too, and then on to the recycle bin.

My Camry will hold only so much stuff – the stuff of my 72 years – and a friend has let me trade my art for her garage for storing paintings and precious books, my meager collection of furniture, and those bags of Spenser’s delicately collected and dropped-in t-shirts. The things of my life that I have sold and donated and given away and thrown out – and recycled – this last month would shock even me if there had not been a moment one morning a couple of weeks ago when I saw myself writing in my notebook, “It’s okay. It really is okay. There’s a new life now for you and it’s okay to let the old one go.” And including the “stuff” of that old one.

The old one with pictures of my mom and letters from past girlfriends and thank you cards from staffs I’ve supervised and nurtured, graduation photos of my boys, and both paid and unpaid bills from various states and all the stuff I’ve been writing here about letting go of this last month.

Once Spenser is settled and safe and “living large” once again, I am okay with not knowing what’s next for me. Hell, eight weeks ago I was in urgent care with electrodes checking chest pain. Like the man says, there wasn’t no white chalk outline around my body when I woke up today, so something good’s coming. For sures.

If you are a regular reader of my Blog, thank you. These days you’re getting a recycled me.