8 Comments

GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN


It’s strange, but after a certain age people start worrying about who will inherit all the detritus they have accumulated during their life. What they should worry about is who the heck wants it anyway? By the time you are ready to get rid of it, any likely recipients already have a houseful of their own stuff, and none of it is part of the same era as ours. The sad thing is that sometimes the small things which are so important to us get lost in the shuffle.

jansport

A case in point is my purse. It is a prototype from Jansport which I have carried everywhere exclusively for twenty years. I carry this purse to the grocery store, to the beach, on vacation, out to dinner; you name it and it has been there. This may not seem amazing to you, but what else fits that description? It is canvas and leather, with pockets holding my life, and though I have a number of expensive designer type handbags in my closet, I opt to use this purse my daughter gave me twenty years ago.

In 1969, while at the University of Washington, our daughter met Skip Yowell, a fun loving and exciting young fellow who with his cousin had started a small backpacking company a couple of years before. People in Washington state are noted for loving the outdoors and finding out what is over the top of all those mountains. Skip Yowell and his cousin Murray Pletz, had an idea that they could make a better backpack than what was being used. Murray’s girlfriend Jan, used her sewing machine to stitch the canvas, and Murray told her if she married him, they would name the company after her. So three hippie kids with a great idea became Jansport, and the company grew into one of the largest outdoor gear companies in the country. Jansport gear has made it to the top of Mount Everest and its sister behemoths for so long now they should put a retail outlet on the top of the mountain.

I was often the lucky recipient of a prototype Jansport had made that year, and that was how I came by my very special purse.

Now that you know the story, you can see why it is important to me to know who will treasure this bit of corporate history. Antique Roadshow may someday feature it to the amazement of its future owner.

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8 comments on “GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN

  1. Its a bag well loved; 20 years is a long time for any bag. Jansport should be proud it held up so well.

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  2. What a lovely story! I’m not a person who keeps things—rather I tend to be a minimalist. But I have two dear people in my family who keep everything (almost). They explain it by saying it is about love. There is some connection of the item to people they love, so they can’t possibly give or throw it away! I understand this, on some level, but marvel at how much stuff they accumulate (and find a way to store the stuff)!

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    • My grandmother was a collector of everything. Her father’s baby shoes, eyeglasses, my mother’s baby bonnet, etc. These things were judiciously moved with her throughout her life and then passed down to my mother and then to me. I am not an owner of these old things as much as a protector. I guess it would be like throwing the baby out with the bath water.
      It may sound like an oxymoron, but I too adhere to less is more in theory.
      Our brother-in-law’s excuse for collecting junk was that he might need it someday.

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  3. This post brought happy memories rushing back to me, Kayti. I had an early Jansport backpack, which my first husband and I used to thoroughly explore that Sierra Nevada Mountains in the Lake Tahoe area. Many, many years later, when my knees rebelled against steep and long hikes, I passed it along to a niece, who was thrilled, and used it until her children started making fun of her for her old, dirty backpack mended with duct tape. Then, in her words,, she thanked it for its service and put it to rest. So I understand your fondness for your purse and your hope that someone will want it. Thanks for the memories.

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    • The mountains at Lake Tahoe were some of our go-to backpacking excursions for years. I wonder if our paths crossed? Stranger things have happened. I felt privileged to get occasional prototypes of back and day packs, luggage, camera equipment etc. courtesy of Jansport through our daughter. Many of daughter’s close friends were the mountaineers at Mt. Rainier, REI founders etc. who first used Jansport equipment in the high mountains.
      I loved the story of your daughter’s duck taped backpack. Don’t all of them have it”

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  4. With us it will be mainly our old furniture that we lugged back from our Dutch farm in 1976 to Australia. It will probably all end up at the Salvos.
    What a good choice those three hippies made. A lovely story, Kayti. I have started to chuck old bills and bank statements out. I still like comparing old gas bills.

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    • How lucky your family is to have your old furniture it would be a shame to have it end up at a Thrift store, but It will be that way here as well. We seem to have collected a lot of it too, but I don’t think anyone wants it.
      It’s amazing how those old bill s stack up. I try to clear them out each January, but they still keep coming along with the ones they send online. I guess they want money!

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  5. Great post Aunt Kayti!! Although it makes me feel a bit guilty. I have at least 15 different bags of size, shape, and color that I alternate among. Do I need all of these? Well, I do use them!

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