When I was in college, I learned that everything I owned is just stuff. Some things have strong memories connected to them. In the end, though, it's all just stuff and stuff can be replaced.
Between my freshman and sophomore years in college, my family moved from Oklahoma to Georgia. Since I had been going to college in Oklahoma, it made more sense for me to leave most of my things in Oklahoma instead of dragging them back and forth across the country.
My college roommate and I rented a storage unit on the outskirts of town. It was one of the places where you put all your stuff inside and then put your own lock on the door. I stored all the textbooks I needed to keep, my winter clothes, tons of shoes, my bedding, and a bunch of other stuff.
When it was time to return to school, I flew back to Oklahoma. Tim and his parents picked me up at the airport and drove me back to school. When we went to get everything out of the storage place, my key didn't work in the lock. It was the right storage unit, and it certainly looked like the right lock. We went to Wal-Mart to get some lubricant in case the lock had gotten too much dust in it over the past three months. We also bought a small hand saw, just in case we had to saw the lock off. I remember seeing a sheriff's deputy drive by and making some sort of joke about how I hoped he didn't think we were breaking into the storage unit.
We cut the lock off and raised the door. The unit was pretty much empty. I could tell it was ours -- it still had the nasty scrap of carpet that had been in our dorm room and a few textbooks left in a crate.
It turns out that the storage place had been hit by a massive burglary earlier in the summer. The thieves had cut off locks, emptied out the storage rooms, and then replaced the locks. The owners of the storage place didn't know that our unit had been disturbed until the day I returned.
Thankfully, my parents' wonderful homeowners insurance policy covered all of my losses. After making massive lists of every single thing that I could remember putting in the storage unit, they paid me enough to replace them.
There are only a few things that I still wish hadn't been stolen. Tim's high school letter jacket was in there, and we couldn't replace it or any of the All-State Band patches that had been sewn on the sleeve. For the most part, though, it was all just stuff.
Perhaps it's been easier for me to live a military life knowing deep down that all my possessions are just stuff and that stuff can usually be replaced.
For most of the past year I've been sharing "Years Ago" stories as I've been Blogging through the Alphabet. There are so many stories left to share that I've started over again. This time I'm linking my posts with Kristi at The Potter's Hand Academy.