Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Spilt Milk

Little Jack Horner

I have lost Jack.

And two photo albums.

No doubt more things are missing. For example, just yesterday, I offered to make some Christmas treats for the Cobalt Library fundraiser in December. I found my favourite steamed pudding recipe and made a list of ingredients to buy. Then I searched for the steaming equipment. The aluminum lidded container, I found. However, not the two ceramic bowls. I vaguely recall that I decided not to pack them for our move north. I hadn’t made pudding for several years, so the bowls were better off in someone else’s kitchen. I donated them to Goodwill. At least, let’s assume that’s what I did. Obviously, I had no real attachment to those items. More to my point – no regrets for their loss.

I cannot say the same about Jack and the photo albums.

It’s just so much spilt milk, right?

Well, no, actually.

Jack Horner and Miss Muffet  are (or were) a pair of figurines that I inherited from my mother.  A year after the move, I finally got around to unpacking the box of less essential items, like the souvenirs and knickknacks. Jack was missing.

There’s a mistake in that last sentence. Jack and Miss, and all the other items in that box are essential. Not in a “life or death” kind of way, no. But they represent important people, events, and feelings. To you? Nope. But to me, most assuredly.

What happened to Jack? How is it that he didn’t survive the trip? I remember wrapping and packing them individually and placing them, together, in the same box. But I also know that hubby came after me and re-packed some of the boxes.

What happened to the picture albums? I realized that they were missing this spring when I started to write a post titled Gardens I Have Dug. I planned to share pictures of the perennial borders and rose bowers and herb beds. But the two books from the years when I was, ahem, obsessed with gardening, were missing.

I know that I packed them. And that Reiner re-packed these boxes, too.

I know that I un-packed them. I think. Didn’t I? I’m fairly certain that I did. I can visualize the books in this house. I think. I dunno, this is what drives me nuts. This was during the days of settling in after the move.  Cardboard cartons and tissue and bubble wrap littered the place. At day’s end, we’d clear the mess so we could start the next day’s mess from a state of relative tidiness.

I can barely summon the courage to type these words: did the books get tossed with the trash?

I’ve looked high and low. I’ve looked in every cupboard, closet, and cubby. Twice. More than twice – dozens of times. I’ve looked in crazy places, like the medicine chest in the downstairs bathroom – a room we seldom use. Or in the plastic totes filled with rubber boots or fishing gear. If this sort of activity doesn’t qualify as magical thinking, I don’t know what does. But it does qualify as the act of a desperate individual who deeply regrets losing something important.

This is also hard to admit: when I am in a particularly uncharitable frame of mind, I descend to depths where I suspect my hubby of jealously removing traces of my past lives with ex-husbands. Which is absurd. My suspicions are based on absolutely nothing other than wanting to find an explanation.

So, no. This is not just so much spilt milk.

Sure, what’s done is done. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, not a big deal. Not by a long shot. Besides, I don’t think of the loss, most days. But it has been on my mind since the Cherished Blogfest was announced. Since I have already written about my cherished possessions,  I’ve been wondering how to participate.  I guess I’ve found a way.

Categories: In Other News

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51 replies

  1. I’m sorry. 😔I know exactly how you feel. My experience has more to do with multiple lives and moves with this hubby. At this point in my life (ahem, almost 60) I have actually awakened from a deep sleep wondering which home I am in. Sigh. I will sometimes think of something to show someone only to realize it was dispensed of during ‘The Great Purge’ before we moved to CR. I hope Jack and your prized photos turn up and hubby is exonerated. 😏

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry that YOU know how I feel. But also, comforted by the fact.
      Funny/not funny about your waking to wondering where you are. I’ve had similar experiences while driving – I am on Queen Street, but where? Stratford? London? Kitchener? It’s more than a little off-putting.
      Yeah, I haven’t given up all hope, but now it is in the hands of which ever deity looks after missing things.


  2. Ex-husband was a pack rat. He collected all sorts of that didn’t make sense. When married to his ex, he went to a yard sale and bought a canoe…that he never used. It was a lawn decoration. They couldn’t put cars in their garage. I decided that life with me wouldn’t be like that and it wasn’t. When he went to work I put boxes out for the trash. He never missed any of them. I didn’t throw away things like pictures or slides of his kids or his family. All was good until my mother died. It was hard to give away her stuff and it took years but my house is relatively tchotchke free. However, every once in a while I go looking for something and wonder if it went in the big purge. I guess there will be no steamed pudding for the fund raiser!

    Liked by 1 person

    • As much as my husband prefers his kitchen counters clear, he is the pack-rat in the house. He’s the one who keeps this and that out, and at the ready. Like bear spray, or his gloves, or the current bottle of soda. He’s the one who displays his treasures and paraphernalia on all the available surfaces. I’m like you – my tchotchkes are on a designated tchotchke shelf and that’s that. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I hate dusting!

      As for the steamed pudding? The great thing about this pudding is that it can be cooked in any old container. I’m good!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Maggie. This stinks. I do know that feeling of seeing the item being packed…and then not seeing it be unpacked. I never see it being given away though, and that is what bugs me. It’s like I am missing the middle part of a puzzle. Magical thinking? Yup. But surely one of those times it will appear, won’t it? I am not a fan of stuff, but those things that are connections……they are most definitely keepers. I hope Jack is just hiding somewhere and makes an appearance soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You hit the nail on the head – the middle parts are missing! Like, what actually happened when he repacked the figurines? I wasn’t around and hadn’t realized he did that until after the fact. Did he drop Jack? Did he misplace him and accidentally throw him out? Surely he knew I’d notice, so that’s preposterous. Right?

      Same for the albums.

      There was so much anxiety and stress related to the packing he had to make several changes to get all of the stuff on board the truck. Changes that I wasn’t there to see.

      And because of the stress and anxiety and my lingering bitterness that he insisted on doing the move himself, it’s no wonder that I am inclined to think less than charitably toward him.


  4. Maybe Jack went up the hill to find ….. The photo albums. Are ALL the boxes unpacked? I still have unopened boxes from my move 7 yrs ago. I hope your search ends soon with a happy ending!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hate when this happens, but happen it does. It’s the photos I miss the most and an autograph book my mother had from when she was young. It makes me feel like I’m careless, which I’m not. I’m sorry you’ve lost these things. Hope they turn up.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That is a horrible sinking feeling, when it first dawns on us that it is missing. Sorry to hear of the lost items. I’m not trying to be funny, but have you looked under the couch. That’s where I find everything!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fingers and toes crossed for you Maggie that these essentials (and they are) turn up when you least expect it.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I was thinking the same as Deb. Quite often, those missing items do reappear, when you have stopped actively looking for them. I hope that is true for your Jack, and for sure, for those photo albums. I’ve always said that pictures and books will be my very last possessions. Like you, I hate to dust, so I avoid collections of all kinds.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Maybe Reiner identifies with Jack — maybe look through his stuff when you can get away with it? The albums are an even bigger problem.. I am going to have to ask for St. Anthony of Padua’s intercessory help in finding those.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Why is it when something cannot be found, it’s nearly always something that matters? If I ever find the rude little devil that sneaks in and hides things, he’s a goner for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I know all about magical thinking… looking in a cabinet for something, then looking in the same cabinet 10 minutes later just in case the item teleported itself inside while I was searching somewhere else. I haven’t made too many moves which is probably why I have so much stuff still to get rid of. But, I have lost things that do turn up later in the most surprising places. I hope your cherished items magically reappear for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The darnedest thing about looking a second (or nth) time: have you gone looking for the wooden-handled spatula in the wooden-handled spatula drawer and it’s not there? It’s not there the second time you look, but somehow, on the third try, there it is, right where it belongs.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. When I left Germany after my army tour, I shipped a box full of mementos from my travels in Europe. It disappeared en route and to this day, it feels like those travels never happened. Sometimes we need evidence of where we’ve been and who we were, no matter how trivial it might seem to others.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Crossing my fingers that you find them somewhere. Hiding in a corner, communing quietly with each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh I’m so sorry. So very sorry. I, too, have lost things in moves. I actually don’t want to recount those items, because I feel every bit as devastated now as I did then, so trust me, I understand some of what you’re feeling.
    I try not to be so materialistic, I’m not a hoarder, and I put people over things, but some things represent feelings for me. The essence of a memory, hmm? A pleasantry to turn to for sentiment? Reminisce with the good times, the people we lost. Connection like a talisman of time. I so get it.
    I also relate to the feelings that this couldn’t have happened without someone else’s malevolence. That’s an INFJ thing, by the way — suspecting conspiracy, placing motives where there are none.
    Wonderful addition to the Cherished Blogfest, Maggie ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right? I’m not a hoarder, either. I am my mother’s daughter – pitch and purge is my mantra! So when I decide to hold onto something, it is significant.

      I’m glad/sad that you can relate to this post. I am also fascinated by that tidbit regarding INFJ tendencies – it makes sense, and it is actually comforting. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m sorry for you, Maggie. I know the feeling of setting something in a special place because you can’t think of not having it, and then having it be gone. I hope they turn up, maybe there’s a box that’s hiding. Thanks for joining us in this edition of CBF.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I know how you feel. It’s odd to wonder about how and why and where something went– and then to wonder why you’re missing it so much. I hope that you find either that which you lost or peace with the reality that you lost it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. UGH Maggie, I feel your pain! I’m hoping that, like me, someday when you aren’t thinking about it, they might show up while you are searching for something else!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh Maggie, I really hope you find them eventually, because then it will give me hope that my missing watch is there with them. Why is it we never seem to lose the things that are inexpensive/unimportant, but always the expensive/emotionally important??
    I even went ‘dumpster diving’ in my big recycle bin and garbage can when I noticed the watch was missing. It’s driving me crazy.
    If you find your missing items, surely I should be able to find mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Almost couldn’t push the ‘like’ button. Because I’m so sad that you’ve lost these items of your past. There are things like that that mean so much in everybody’s life. I hope you will always be able to remember them and that the memories are almost as good as the real thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I guess you have found a way. I can identify with the frantic nature of your searches, and even now hope they will turn up.


  21. I’m so sorry! We lost some family photos when my mom moved seven years ago, and I know how what that feels like. It is so frustrating!!


  22. This is a very powerful post that gives both Jack and your Photo Albums the Cherished Honour that they deserve. The optimist in me says that they will still turn up. I sincerely hope that they do!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Ooooo – this post hit a spot. I’ve been through plenty of moves, and I swear I’ve had stuff take an extended holiday to jet-set about the globe before FINALLY coming to the new home.

    (note – I’ve always done my moving the hard way – by myself & friends)

    My solution for missing stuff? Wait for it. Once you’ve reconciled yourself to the loss, it’ll magically appear. I usually find stuff once I’ve stopped looking for it.


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