Not ALL THINGS Are Replaceable

I like to think of myself as organized enough to find what I need to find no matter what it is, but I lack the anal qualities of being really meticulous about putting things in logical places, filing things etc. I am not a logical neatnik like my husband, but I am not a total slob either. Things appear fairly organized in my home.

But you have seen that saying:

Back to the topic at hand, it isn’t often where I cannot find a treasure I need, no matter how obscure. For example, my memorabilia for my children, and for my stuff is arranged and labeled throughout our attic. I needed to find my high school pins and I found them in my old jewelry box in a memorabilia box for example.

So we had a few floods around here. The last one flooded our garage only and we lost some of the memorabilia and photo albums that we hadn’t put into the attic. One of the things I am most sad about is that I had two plastic bins of my writing work (hard paper copies directly from the newspaper) of all kinds of great writing work for magazines and newspapers –that was all published before the age of the Internet, all lost to water getting into the bins and destroying all contents.

I knew I lost that stuff, but it was okay. (NOTE: not really okay but you know the saying that you can always replace things…. WAIT, no you cannot replace the things when the publication is out of business and you had cover stories in them before they were published online. Not everything IS replaceable.)

At any rate, I was okay because I had a portfolio. In the days before the Internet, we writers (free lance) schlepped around large leather portfolios with our published articles encased in plastic sheets to show editors our best work.

My portfolio I think, survived the garage flood because it was in the attic. Or this is what my horrid short term memory told me. (I only wish short term was as good as my long term memory that is practically photographic.)

Though my mind fuzzes over at the details, I remember seeing the two leather portfolios somewhere AFTER the flood. I just cannot remember where. And I also thought that if they were flooded, I may have tried to salvage the leather or the contents instead of chucking them with so much other stuff.

At any rate, someone asked to see the article about my meeting Steven Spielberg when he came to present Schindler’s list to a group of Holocaust survivors in Houston. I covered the event and got to meet Spielberg – a great, and warm guy.

Then someone else brought up Michael Callan, a guy from my neighborhood (I worked at his dad’s sandwich shop) who became a drop-dead gorgeous sixties actor and was very popular on the Hollywood scene for a while. I got to meet and interview him many years after his heyday when he was kind of washed up and sad. The show he was in town to appear in never did open, and I kept thinking he was in no shape for performing but I had fun reminiscing about his dad and his dad’s restaurant with him. This article too was in my portfolio along with many other celebrity interviews. (Again all of these took place before the Internet- that’s how old I am).

There was also an interview with Sally Struthers that I wrote, and she was so impressed with the outcome that she became my temporary best friend during a Houston run of a show that she was appearing in. (Got invited to a wrap party by her too.)

All three of the above articles, some of my proudest EARLY work, were in my writing portfolio. They were the only copies that existed – several national periodicals and publications, and a few cover stories that I will never see again.

It has now been months since I began the hunt for the portfolios and three different looks through every box and bin in the attic and garage has not turned them up. Closets were scoured too. I even went into our top-most attic which requires a hair-raising climb on a ladder, and where virtually nothing is stored due to its difficult access, and no luck though it would make sense to keep them safe up there at the highest point.

These writing pieces are now gone, along with my leather portfolio, which is nowhere to be found. The good news is that the newspaper I wrote all three of the above celebrity stories for does have paper copies and archives dating back to the dark ages, so I can make an appointment and go and retrieve my work if I can figure out the timelines. I haven’t done it yet. The other national pieces of course, and local magazine work is all gone forever.

It is really surprising to me that something that is associated with my writing identity was so carelessly tossed or put in a place not to be found in my current home. That is not something that is typical of me. Is it possible that with all the other hard copies lost, and in this age of the Internet, I tossed them at some point and have amnesia about doing so? I just do not think that would happen.

This blog was written just so I could unpack my feelings of loss here, and that is simply the reason for this whole effort. However it is also to give empathy to all others who have lost precious pieces of their past through a fire or flood. Not everything is replaceable and I wrote a viral blog linked here about things like that NOT to save to a flood survivor. It is simply not empathetic language.

By the way, I have about ten great blogs coming, partially written and needing final edits, when I find the time. Thanks for sticking with Hot Flashes and my writing. And any ideas out there as to where I would stash the important portfolios?

2 comments

  • I’m sorry for these losses. I’m sure I’ve lost the majority of my previously published work.

  • I’m so sorry that you can’t find your portfolios Arlene. I know how hard it is to let go of. Most of my stuff is unpublished and I can’t bare to toss even those things. It’s so good, maybe I’ll use it someday, when I toss the writing it’s like a piece of me goes with it. The rabbi at Central Synagogue did an entire sermon (probably on YouTube) on Rosh Hashanah about when things are lost. I think it must come up a lot for people these days.

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