A Winters Express opinion column
By Charley Wallace
To quote Albert Einstein, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” My mind is past cluttered as is my desk, or should I say my father’s desk, which I inherited when he passed away over three years ago. I moved my office into his space, but kept the family tradition of not throwing anything away. It is becoming apparent that I have to start cleaning up this mess of an office. I was looking for something the other day and decided that enough was enough and grabbed a recycle waste bin and started to fill it up.
There are boxes of old newspapers, surprise, surprise, but there are also boxes of old check stubs and tax returns from the 1950s forward. There is a lot of correspondence between my father and other newspaper publishers when he was president of the California Newspaper Association (CNPA) in the early 1960s. I’m having a hard time throwing them away, so I contacted the secretary of the CNPA office in Sacramento. “Do you want them?” I asked. Silence, then I was told that they had no place to store them. I boxed them up and am waiting for a chance to drop them off in Sacramento when no one is looking.
Some stuff I’ve managed to let go of, but any family-related material I’m boxing up for my sister Lois to take with her the next time she passes through Winters. There are boxes of family photos, slides and letters. Some are interesting to read, others are about what everyone had to eat at Aunt Lucile’s on Thanksgiving, 1968.
The last time Lois was here I filled up her van and I haven’t seen her since. I’m also cleaning out a corner of my print shop to make room for a 1860s newspaper press that is currently occupying space needed by the Historical Society of Winters. I am also getting rid of an older offset printing press that is too new for my printing museum. I gave myself a timeline of one month, about a month ago. A friend told me to just throw everything away (recycle) and not try and sell stuff. I’m thinking that I might need to take his advice.
As I sit here typing I can see coffee cups full of old pens, markers and even a few pencils. How about a gift card to Cody’s Liquors & Sporting Goods, or a blood pressure monitor? I’m sure that I need the package of DVD + RW 4.7 GB discs on the top of my desk, or the Tupperware container with a bunch of bandages and a parking pass from the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, 2019.
If I look up at the wall, among the many plaques and pictures, I can see a clipboard with daily weather reports from July 2007 through June 2012. There are also racks of t-shirts from Winters businesses that no longer exist, or Frank Ramos’ Marine Corp uniform. Also old Winters track and band uniforms with other local memorabilia. There are stacks of campaign signs from local elections, along with bar signs and empty beer kegs. Some of the signs I’ve stapled to the wall, like wallpaper.
I won’t even mention the dozen or so four drawer filing cabinets that I’m just starting to go through. Historian Tom Crisp came in last week, looking for a 1920 Winters High School Poppy. I opened a drawer where I knew there were old Poppies, sorted by year, and that year was missing. I opened the drawer below and there were more Poppies, including the one he was looking for. I handed it to him and told him to bring it back when he was done with it. Just a note, I don’t loan out Poppies, but Tom is working on the next museum exhibit on sports and I know where he lives.
Wish me luck with my cleaning/recycling and have a good week.