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Knowing when - and what - to let go of with garage sale


MY GARAGE sale has come and gone and with it a letting-go of sorts - of possessions, plans, dreams, false ideas.

I know, I know - I sound maudlin, sad. Alas, as I progress in life, as I move on in years, I realize more and more that it's time to let go, occasionally admit defeat, move on.

Especially when it comes to leather shorts.

In the early '90s, I traveled with three friends to Turkey. Yes, the first Gulf War was in full force, but it did not stop us from jumping a plane from Holland to Turkey to spend some time on its beautiful southern coast on the lovely Mediterranean Sea - the coast of the country in both Asia and Europe. And when I was there, I purchased some leather shorts.

Lined. Mid-thigh. Brown. Buttery leather.

And I wore them. A lot. In Europe. On dates. With tights.

I thought them pretty fabulous, and now they adorn a closet in my house where they have hung for, yikes, two decades. Twenty years. I will never wear those shorts again ... and yet I find it hard to part with them.

I did not put them in the garage sale.

But I did put my daughter's stilts in the sale. Actually, she did. I was a little sad thinking I now have a home without stilts. I love walking on stilts. It's one of my favorite childhood memories. And I was good. I could walk up and down the street for hours, stilting up curbs, even stairs.

Now, well, the stilts are at 10-year-old Lydia's house. It's right that a 10-year-old girl has them. And yet I still miss them. Or, perhaps, I miss my own 10-year-old self.

Last week, I happened upon a game of Four Square at my school and joined in. When I was 10, I was quite good - adept - and often made it to the "King's Square" and ruled the game. I tried re-living that dream and slipped and fell while trying to return a pretty good spike from 12-year-old Kate. Yup. I slid on that pavement so hard, I saw stars. I now have a knee brace and crutches - and while I suppose crutches have something in common with stilts, they are not nearly as entertaining.

Perhaps my 10-year-old self has left the building.

Nevertheless, once my knee heals, I'll don some orthopedic shoes and play again. I simply have to. Maybe I'll just stretch more before I serve the ball. I'm not ready to sit out a good Four Square game.

I am, however, ready to release those leather shorts and move onto a good pair of Chico's slacks. Trousers - they, at least, will cover up my knee brace.

So, as I enter this summer with a new lease on life, a new sense of self, a chance to heal from letting go, I do understand how difficult it can be to release. But that 10-year-old self is still inside ready to swim, to play, to enjoy a brilliant summer.

May you, as well, "Budget Vogue" readers. Enjoy the letting go - and, hey, need a pair of leather shorts?

"Budget Vogue" appears here the first Sunday of each month. Susan Dromey Heeter's other column, "Down to Earth," appears the third Tuesday of the month in the Union Leader's At Home section. Email her at dromeheet@comcast.net.

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