More Things I Found in Boxes While Clearing Out the Basement

by Wendy Copley on February 8, 2011

This weekend we made a big push to get the basement cleared out for our upcoming move. I found even more wonderful, sentimental items as I was digging through boxes. It’s amazing to me how these small objects can immediately send me back to a specific time in my life — to the point where I can picture the rooms I lived in, the clothes I wore and the people I spent my time with. This particular batch of stuff sent me right back to my college dorm rooms and my first apartment:

Student ID

Mills College Student ID

First up is my student ID from college. Look at that young, fresh-faced Wendy, complete with tie-dye shirt and J Crew windbreaker (which I also found in the back of a closet and is still in great shape). That photo was taken at registration my freshman year —  my first day of college. I was so freaking scared! I didn’t visit the campus before enrolling so it was my first time seeing the place I would spend the next four years of my life. I was 2000 miles from home and away from my parents for the first time. Pretty brave if you ask me! I had this ID all four years. I never lost it so they just kept adding “valid” stickers on top of each other semester after semester.

Woven bracelet

Woven Hippie Bracelet

I was a little hippie-chick my senior year of high school and well into my college years and this bracelet was tied onto my wrist for years. There are smudges of blue paint on it from the time I had to re-paint the high school yearbook room (another story for another day), but it’s in surprisingly good shape when you consider that I wore it 24/7 for at least three years. I got it at a head shop in Iowa City (The Third Coast? Help me out here high school classmates…) some time my senior year of high school, I think.


Can of Shinola

This is one of my most prized possessions. My Uncle Bill gave it to me when I graduated from college. The monetary value is pretty low, of course, but the message he sent with this gift was priceless: “Dear College Graduate Niece, Now you’ve proven that you know shit from Shinola.”

Hmmmm…maybe the sentiment isn’t coming through here, but he meant it in a loving, caring sort of way, I assure you.

Burning Man Water Bottle

Burning Man Water Bottle

To your average person, this looks like a regular old water bottle. It’s a nice water bottle to be sure, and it comes in a handy dandy pouch that can be slung across your shoulder when you’re walking long distances. It even has a mini ice pack you can slip into the lining to keep your water nice and chilly! I was all set to toss this into the Goodwill box, but then the acrid smell of playa dust hit my nose and I just couldn’t do it. I only went to Burning Man three times — in 1999, 2000 and 2002 — but Burning Man was a huge part of my life for those four years. Almost all of our friends went to Burning Man in that era and we had a really big camp so we spent a lot of the year prepping for our time on the playa. And by “prepping” I mean we would go to a work party, work for about an hour or so and then spend the rest of the evening drinking beer, eating barbecue, and hanging out with our friends.  This water bottle went with me on every trip to the festival and it was as much a part of my body as my arms were when I was there. “Piss clear” and all that.

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  • Loving the Shinola story!
    And wondering where you went to HS. I grew up in Fairfield (townie) and attended IWC in Mt. P for two years, finishing my last 2.5 years at Iowa. My mom always too up to the little jeans shop on the walking mall to buy our new school jeans each fall.

  • Whitneymoss

    Love it. More, please!

  • I went to Washington in Cedar Rapids, but took frequent trips to IC on the weekends.

  • More coming!

  • Ha I had to laugh at the Shinola story. I am enjoying your memories with you!
    My boss did a song “You don’t know love from Shinola” It is funny!

  • Carrie

    oh my gosh, i love your college id picture. I love how you’re creeping out of the frame…like you might bolt at any minute. My pic looks about the same! So fun. Where…has…the…time…gone?

  • Mom

    I love your ID picture too. It makes me realize how much you and Lance look alike. Also remember how hard it was to send you so far away from home to a campus sight unseen!
    Your Mom

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