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Carol Stewart has written several articles for us in the past and some of her pearls of wisdom can be found in our new book,  Movin' On
Thoughts on a storage locker and things.
December 10, 1998
    The letter is a true gem. It is a must read for future full-timers.

Dear Ron and Barb, 

Yep! THE BOOK arrived Saturday and we've had our noses in it since.  It's fun and full of everything all those wantabes need to know.  But I like the fact that there's lots for us runabouts too.  The cover is a real eye catcher and will help your sales--the flowers on the table makes it big with me.  So when are you going to get a traveling garden? (Right now ours is blooming its head off.) 

The pictures are charming in that they show our life style is not lonely.  We can make a party anywhere, anytime, for any reason.  How about--- it's Tuesday? 

After being on the road for five years the Stewarts moved their storage locker.

We've moved our stuff from Coarsegold to Pismo, so it is all in one space. Our youngsters, of course, think we are going to grow up and settle in here. Wrong!!!  at least for a while.  Our dear in-law's went with us (Valerie's parents) and we made quite a party out of it--wine and giggles as we pitched left and right.  I pitched Dick's stuff to be left out and he pitched it right back in.  My stuff went to the thrift shop.  Ho!  I insisted all books be kept and I only threw a away 1/4 of my collected recipes.  Things do deteriorate in storage, so much of the stuff was really looking tired to us, but someone we'll use them--I'm sure. At the Thrift Shop  an antique clothes drying rack was snatched up before it ever got out of the trailer.  I wonder how many thousands it was worth.  But we kept the old tire lock, our gold panning pan, and an ancient oil burning lamp.  Even a broken, but loved, pitcher came down the hill with us.  I will feel gyped if the folks who take our lot don't pay us for the improvements, but we knew it could be that way.  It's all based on a gentleman's agreement to offer payment, and I am rather fond of true gentlemen.  Moving on as you say. 

We are clean and decorated and just wait for each son to offer a time to get together.  Dick says I can't organize their time; he says we'll see more of them if we don't pressure them.  SOOOOOOOO next Friday we GET to babysit the doll.  Kaylin is jabbering and fun to watch.  I feed her oatmeal and yams. Yuck, no maple syrup nor gin and tonic. 

Ohhhhhh, how I wish we had been there for the great unveiling of THE BOOK. What a party you had.  Such fun.  People do to flock to join you in your fun. You should be so pleased with your accomplishment.  You sat there and pounded out this tome while the rest of us enjoyed our summer.  Of course, the book was more than a summer, it is a life style developed over many years.  I keep wondering if we get our stuff organized and the motor home organized and clean, what will we do?  Time for the bikes, a class, a dog training group, and maybe just sit in a spa and then cook comething new-----all without pressure to hurry up and get it done. 

Have  two reponses to the Project Linus notice already.  It's so easy to talk about and I still am fond of the portability of the project.  Is portabilty a word? 

Thank you for your warm thoughts in your autograph--you two mean a great deal to us too--I remember calling you when Dick had pneumonia.  Your voices were a real comfort, and I loved Thayne--I'm not sure why, way out there and all, but the river and wheat fields in that grand valley, the breakfast place, and the moose and her two calves.  Thanks for that time in our travels. 

Well, dears, your Christmas message has such heart; it made me really miss you and since I am talking about about leasving SF on Tuesday, I know I will miss a hug in Castaic, but I guess they are sometimes best saved till later. 

Our sometimes sunny days here are good for our walking, and being outdoors. Dick has fixed up twinkle lights along the side of the MH and we have colored lights and greenry on the dash.  It's pretty funky with our old family decorations, but it is HOME.  Next is some cookie baking, and planning a beef roast for Christmas Eve. 

Have a happy holiday time; start playing; I know you know how to do that. 

Love and MANY hugs, 
 Dick and Carol 

Some more:  can be used anyway you like--newletter, web site 

About visiting our stuff:

We went to our storage (Dick calls it our shed even though it is a first class storage complex with fire and burglar alarms in each unit; I call it "behind the blue door" as in "we'll put it behind the blue door") to visit our stuff (there is another short word for stuff, but here I'll use stuff) to see if when we moved our things from from Park of Sierra,  we would need a larger unit.  Alas and alack, we WOULD need a larger unit.  We were fuller (??) than we remembered. 

And thus begins the agony of dealing with what's left behind on our travels. Everyone knows that full timers should not have anything left over when loading up the rig.  Ho!  I think you are just about the only ones we know that do not have a storage unit.  But we're bogged down by skis, some garden tools, garage goodies, some knicknacks that would be oh, so nice when we stop all this goofing around, and the family pictures, and books, books, books.  I love to just see these books and remember the joy they brought when I first read them.  I try to keep only the rareest and the ones that would be most expensive to replace.  Of course I have mounds of cookbooks and a whole large carton of clipped recipes:  I am a recipe addict. 

At any rate, the emotions of "I should get rid of all this stuff" come forward with the guilt of how much is this hanging on to stuff costing me?, costing Dick?  He does have stuff too.  Could the $400 each year be spent in a better way?  Is this shear foolishness to want to see the things of the past, to imagine a life of the future in a housing situation only minutely larger than our rig?  Maybe there won't be room for our stuff in that place either!  And then there's the oooohhhhinng and awwing over saved books and brochures from trips.  And there's our son's yellow ceramic pig he made in the eighth grade, and I know I will use the book stand another son made in junior high.  I AM attached to these things;  I cannot give them up. 

The art work that hung on our walls is spread out at all our sons' homes. They are enjoying them, have decorated around them, and we can tell they won't want to give them up.  There are  pieces that they have, but don't want to use so they gather dust in their garages.  Should we take them back now? to put them in our dust behind the blue door? 

It's all about hanging on to the past, and yet with an eye to the future.  So many folks in the world have so little, and yet we maintain this room for just our unused things.  It is really quite small only 5 by 10.  We would like it to be 5 by 5, but we would have to stack stuff highter than 6 feet and that spells disaster in earthquake country.  We also like the luxury of walking down an asile and seeing all the labeled boxes with out having to move any to see what's behind the others. 

It comes down to do we need Christmas tree lights when we haven't had a tree in six years?  Or do we need Christmas tree lights to help us remember the Christmas past?  We could buy new when we do have a tree again, but new doesn't always do. 

It truly isn't the money spent on a dream of tommorrow.  I guess there is some fear that the dream may not come true, just as there were fears about how this life style might be and what if it was  not the dream come true. 

Oh, the stuff does have it's complications. We should have less, keep less, but what I want to know is who made these rules?  Who says I should throw out what I love to see and touch.  If it gives my heart a chance to to sigh and remember and be myself  for a while, that has value.  I think of the joy of sharing more things, someday, with our youngsters.  Some old books and 
parents' writing were found, and we're not ready to part with those YET. Certainly the kids are grown up enough to take care of these heirlooms; we're not grown up enough nor old enough to let go----and I guess this is all about letting go and not being ready and willing. 

Well, everything's in boxes and those wonderful Wal-mart tubs with great labels that mean something today, nothing in a year or two.  We close the blue door; it  rolls down with a clatter and an extra slam to get it tight against weather and robbers (who would take my recipe collection?).  And the big lock is snapped shut with a defnite click. The past is shut away again for a year or two. We give each other a high five, and talk about plans for tomorrow, next week, next summer.  The STUFF is safe, and so are our brains---until the next visit. 

More love, 
Carol & Dick Stewart