The word paradigm can have a few subtle differences in meaning. In philosophy—very simply—it can be a set of patterns, thoughts, and theories. It’s how you see the world.
The keepsakes in my trunk arise from a half-dozen different paradigms.
There are things in here from every part of my life.
Trinkets and notes and reminders of different places. Of a different person. The person I was then.
Playing show and tell with my memory.
I have a package of Topps Creature Feature bubble gum cards, unopened, that I bought at the Dime Store when I was eight years old and allowed to roam the streets of small town Nebraska by myself.
One look at that package and a dozen memories arise. More than a dozen stories.
I have the concert jersey purchased at my first KISS concert in 1982. It’s easily my favorite show souvenir with its rare photo of the band in first run makeup but sans two of the original members.
We almost died coming home when the car went crazy on ice.
I have a magnet from my short time at Yankton College in South Dakota, a college that closed halfway through my freshman year.
But so much better, I have a small pewter figure of a bowman, a Dungeons & Dragons inspired game piece given to my by a good friend at YC.
We are friends still, and seeing the figure reminds me of all that we have been through, the children born and grown to adulthood, the ways we are still the same.
I still have the very last gift my mom ever bought for me: a cheesy vinyl wallet she picked up from my cousin’s grade school sales program and tossed my way.
It was a gift to him as well.
Closer to the top, I find a small piece of artwork I created in 1989 while living in Wyoming.
A stack of comic books I either wrote or drew in the 90s.
My South Carolina Press Association card.
The CDs we played the night Wyatt was born.
The little hat he wore a month later for his first Christmas.
Each piece is worth next to nothing on the market. Each is worth everything to me.
Every year, every Thanksgiving weekend, I try to add something.
This year, I add a pair of solar eclipse glasses.
And reflect with gratitude.