I moved house this summer. It took a herculean effort, as moving always does, to lug the mountain of belongings to a new abode. Every time I do it, I harbor wishes of being an unburdened nomad.

But we’re keeping the comforts of inside living (for now) and most of our house has been unpacked and organized. Yet I still continue to stare at the last piles, of which I have no idea what to do with: crates of CDs, folded notes from grade school, soccer and swimming trophies, birthday cards from over the years, boxes and boxes of photos, and artwork that appealed to my younger self.

I am tempted to throw the lot of it in a pile and torch it, Burning-Man style, but these remains are the memorabilia of my life. Recently, I pulled out letters my grandmother wrote me and it brought back feelings and thoughts I’m sure my dust-covered memory bank would have never revealed again without these physical artifacts as a trigger.

Advertisement

This month, Moonshine covers the impending demolition of two North Shore buildings, see stories, here and here. One harkens from the ‘20s and the other the ‘60s. One has advocates for retaining the structure for its historical value, the other has advocates for its imminent replacement. The difference is a mere 40 years of age.

What moves humans to save some things and not others? In this case, aesthetics play an undeniable role. Beauty is subjective, and the more people who think an object is beautiful is proportional to the number of people willing to help preserve it.

Memories attached to an object also play a part. Good memories: Save it. Bad memories: Raze it.

Finally, age is a defining factor in deciding whether to preserve something. We prize objects from history — the more distant in the past, the more valuable.

Personally, I am passionate about history — one of many reasons I love living here (and saving notes from eighth grade). Nevertheless, in Truckee, which has a recognized historical district, I’ve seen structures slated for protection that wouldn’t pass the preservation sniff test. Are they pretty? Not really. Are there good memories attached to them? Arguably, no. Are they old? Yes, relative to a human newborn, but not the granite soil they stand on.

In a world of shrinking space and growing populations, the line has to be drawn somewhere. Saving everything isn’t the answer. What becomes paramount is defining what we value and doing everything we can to save it. The discussions on the North Shore seem to be doing just that.

~Mayumi Elegado

Author

  • Mayumi Peacock

    Hailing from a U.S. military family and a graduate of the University of Florida, Mayumi Peacock has lived in several corners of the country and globe, yet Tahoe/Truckee has been her home since 1999. She is founder and publisher of Moonshine Ink, the region’s award-winning independent newspaper, which continues to be created by, for, and of the community. Other passions include family, animals, books, healthy living, and humane food.

Advertisement
Previous articleTahoe Canvas | 2013 Visual Winner, Runner-Up, + Honorable Mention
Next articleNew Principal Sets Sights on Bringing Stability to Truckee High