It has taken months but the end is near. The last of my mother’s earthly effects are in the process of being disposed of. Furniture, clothes, books, pictures and fine china have either been given to charity or found a new home with her children. Admittedly, there were things near and dear to us that we wanted out of respect for posterity: an end table, expensive glassware, paintings, music, and photos. It was the last item that evoked the greatest outpouring of emotions. Album upon album, packages rammed full with pictures of our past, going back to World War II, were laid out for us to see as we gathered at our sister’s place to divvy up the spoils one last time. It seemed that mother, in her controlling way, had personal snapshots of everything we did and every place we went. For an hour or so we pored over this archival record that also contained report cards, immunization cards, letters, birthday and anniversary cards, rail and ship tickets, ration books, but It was the mass collection of pictures that took on a ramble down memory lane. Holiday gatherings, church picnics, class pics, graduations, houses, birthdays, and weddings brought back more memories of place, person, and time as we shared what was important to us back then. I came away totally invigorated that I had shown great respect for my past by taking the time to revisit it. While my nostalgic older brother has chosen to be more in touch with what has gone before, I still have the ability to recall people’s names without prompting. Yes, the foolish excesses of earlier times came out during our time together, but at least our mother wasn’t there to dampen our lighthearted dismissal of them. We have finally come together to take away what we believe is worth preserving for the next generation. The rest can be thrown out with the trash.