Carrying Around the Past

More than just coconut oil in a bottle...a link to my memories!


This weekend I began uncluttering my bathroom, knowing I’d find many things to donate or discard.     

As I was organizing items under the sink, I came across an old glass bottle, still partially filled with solidified coconut oil.  I twisted off the cap and memories immediately surfaced when I smelled its’ scent.  Richard, a former boyfriend, took a trip to South America.  He brought back a Dewar Scotch bottle filled to the brim with fresh coconut oil.     

I was 22 years old.  The coconut oil survived much longer than my relationship.  I moved the bottle from home to home, immersing it in hot water to liquify the oil and used it sparingly.      

Every time I use it, it evokes the memory of my first full-time job, living in a two bedroom duplex in Belmont, Massachusetts, and the way my life was then.  It was a time of many casual friendships, playing couples bridge with Cathy, Ron, and Richard on Wednesday nights after dinner at my place.   It was an easy lifestyle, with lots of social activities after work.  My sister and brother occasionally dropped by to visit.  I was happy.     

That’s why I keep the bottle, even though the oil is no longer fresh.  It is a simple way to step back and remember my life as it was during 1976.      

Yes, it was 34 years ago that I received this gift.      

The coconut oil’s shelf life expired many years ago.  But I continued to hold on to this tangible link of my personal history.     

I now know the memories are within me.  The physical object is unnecessary…but just in case, I photographed it before pouring out the oil for the final time.


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8 Responses to “Carrying Around the Past”

  1. Christine Sommer Says:

    What a way to bring solidified meaning to a solidified bottle of cocunut oil!

  2. Ellen Caldwell-Ng Says:

    Hmmm. Wonder what the oil was used for…

    Enjoying reading your journey.

  3. Lisa Giesler Says:

    What a great blog that I also can relate to. Even though I am not a “pack rat”, there are certain items I keep for memory. When I start having too many memories to keep, I then I limit to one item per memory. I have had wonderful friends over the years that have given me gifts. It is hard to get rid of anything, but it is even harder to try to keep a store it all.

  4. Jena Says:

    Fantastic revelation! The photo will help to keep those memories; no need for the physical bottle anymore!

    I am proud of ya!

  5. Sky Says:

    Just found your blog through unclutter. Also checked you out on ebay where I see all my unwanted items. Flowertowngirl is my ebay name.
    Looking forward to your blog!

  6. Claycat Says:

    I’m here like Sky!

    Great Post! You have this sentimental memory attachment to things just like I do. I can truly understand why you kept that bottle of coconut oil for so long.

  7. Helen Says:

    I have two suggestions: one, empty the bottle, sterilize it by boiling and refill it with fresh coconut oil. Two, get a new, small bottle of coconut oil and connect the scent of the oil, rather than the physical object, with your memories.

    If this is a significant memory, I think you need to give yourself permission. I like the idea of having a large box or trunk that all our sentimental objects have to fit within. That way it doesn’t get out of control, but we aren’t being too ruthless.

    • Kim Gebron Says:

      I love your suggestion about filling a smaller bottle with fresh coconut oil! have two bins that are full of memory items…old postcards, romantic notes, papers I wrote in college, things like that. Writing the story of the coconut oil was very cathartic; I’m ok with recycling the bottle (which I did) and realize the memories are within. I’m glad, however, that I took the photo!

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