Linda Shaffer, author of Geezer World, lives in Netarts with her husband Nick and their loving canine mascot, Grover. She is a former publisher of the Headlight-Herald with more than 30 years of experience in community journalism.
Here’s the thing…if I wanted to revive the past year I could look through credit card and bank statements, Facebook posts and all the goofy pictures I took with my cell phone. Unfortunately, some of these things have been destroyed by “accident”. That’s what I call it. Or, these important documents and photographic evidence have been misplaced. I will leave it to you to decide which of these things sounds more convincing. (The bank always says they’ve got my back.)
I could look back on the calendar and all the appointments. I could ponder the variety of diseases we were treated for and/or diagnosed with here at Shafferville. Turns out that some of these are downright funny and others so serious or so trivial that they tend to end up in the same file. These things seem to travel together. Either way…you’ve nothing to do but laugh and carry on.
FILE? Ah yes…you doubters…I keep files. There will be many of you who will challenge this statement. Unfortunately, you will be the selected few who have actually seen my filing system. I don’t have a “smart filing” system for the same reason that I don’t have a “smart phone.” I’m not technologically inclined and am organizationally challenged. My filing system is “unique”.
I even have a file for Grover. He is one of the best-documented adopted dogs on the planet. If one of us ever wins the lottery…we’ll track down his parentage. Better yet…maybe we’ll have him cloned. NOPE. Never mind. If we can pay for cloning, it means we have too much money and we’ve gone berserk. Cloning Grover would be last on the list…but please don’t tell him. He’s a sensitive small white dog with child anger issues.
My “Misc. Personal” file is my favorite. In doing research for this column, I discovered that this file doesn’t make any sense at all. It contains wildly creative crayon and ink drawings by some of the children I have loved. They are at home there with certificates and awards which have nothing to do with those kids, but are still quite personal. I have funeral notes in there and photocopied pictures of people I have loved. There are love notes and an outline of Mr. S’s hand on newsprint which he sent to me in those early days of ours at the Headlight Herald. He wrote, “Apply where needed”. I did.
That’s about as far as I got in trying to understand what the heck is in all these files I’ve created which causes me to keep them. I only have four file drawers. When I review a year I leave it behind, along with all its paperwork. It gets put in a paper bag and embalmed in the travel chest which belonged to a young woman from Pendleton, OR in the late 1800’s. I love a reason to open that chest.
Only ongoing matters are left out of the chest. After deducting the current year, three of my four drawers remain full. Something is wrong here. It seems clear that we have too much ongoing stuff.
We have autos and insurance and all sorts of basics. Taxes…we don’t pay because we don’t earn enough. Investments? I think not. Medical bills…HUGE. Insurance statements…HUGER (is that a word?) etc. etc. All of you know the drill. We used to keep a file on “Tax deductible stuff”…but now it’s us.
If you have a system for organizing old people, I’d love to hear about it. In the meantime, I have three drawers full of bulging files in which there is a whole lot of stuff I’m not sure about. WAIT! Maybe this is part of the aging process. Maybe it’s time to stop being afraid of the FBI, VA, CIA, IRS, AARP and Publisher’s Clearing House. Maybe I don’t NEED all of this documentation.
If you decide to do this purging of files, take care in advising your children. They might be on you like measles if you say something like, “I threw away the 60s”. If you cherish your independence, keep them in the “loop” along with current files to prove that you still have some of your marbles.
I’d better get busy before the “neighbor lady” reads this.