Kay E. Conklin: The things I have lost


There are definitely a lot of things I have lost in my lifetime. Last year I had a loss that was very unusual. Not many people have had their own car totaled while it is sitting in their own garage. But I did.

While I was a passenger inside the car that caused the accident, I watched as my new white Chevy Malibu was being crunched up the back and shoved into the barrels that were stored inside the garage in front of the car. I saw the center beam of our garage fall to the right of me with electric wires coming down as well.

As the wrecker dragged my car away, I heard my husband, George, say, “Take a good look because you’ll never see that car again.”

The insurance company notified us that the car was totaled. The police chief said he had never written up a report on a car being totaled while in its own garage.

Our other car, a 1994 aqua Chevy Beretta, still runs. It was in perfect shape, inside and out. I had even talked about putting it in an antique car show when it was old enough. But that idea went by the wayside when George started using it as a farm truck. Now, we don’t take it out on the highway because the bottom has a severe rust problem and might fall apart any day.

People speak in terms of “losing” their loved ones when they die. In my case, I have lost parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws. Right now, all six of my siblings are living and, when I add up all our ages, we are a total of 564 years old and range in ages from 72-91. We have been in each other’s lives all our lives.

Years ago, I saw a quote on a man’s hat that read, “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” Needless to say, those words have stuck with me ever since. I just finished reading “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova. It is a novel about a 50-year-old woman having early-onset Alzheimer’s. It is so well-written that you can imagine what Alice was going through as she was losing her memories.

Common things most people lose seem to be their car keys, glasses and cellphones. I once read a statistic about how much time in our lives we spend looking for things we have lost. The total was measured in months! We always hang all our keys together in one place. At least this way, we haven’t ever lost our car keys. But we did lose our car.

As for me, personally, I have lost some of my good eyesight, as well as some of my hearing. And when I look in the mirror, I am always reminded that my hair is no longer dark brown. I often think about the memories I would have lost had I not started keeping a journal when I was 33 years old. I wish I had been encouraged to keep one during my growing-up years. I would love to be able to read about what all went on while I was moving in and out of 13 different houses with my six siblings and our mom and dad.

I started this article about things I have lost, but now I will add the things that have disappeared from my house. This list includes a nice white summer dress, a TV remote, an opened jar of mayo from the refrigerator, a black velvet dressy dress, and an opal ring, to name a few. A lot of times, you don’t know something is gone until you go to get it, and it isn’t there.

That’s what has happened at our farm. Things that turned up missing include an electric saw, a log chain, a couple of axes, a 50-foot tape measure, an electric fan and, recently, several hay hooks. (Just when it was time to make hay, George had to go out and try to find three new ones. It wasn’t until his third farm supply store that he finally found the three he needed. Having to do this running around meant he lost at least two hours of sunshine. You know, you have to make hay when the …!)

So, what do I consider as my biggest loss? (It’s definitely not my car!) It’s the loss of members of my family and old friends. A lot of the memories of the time I spent growing up with them are gone now. Since I am nearing the time when I may be losing more and more of my memories, I have begun to write more and more in my journals.

My sister, Ann, once said that when I get really old, she imagines that George will sit down and read my journals to me. What a thought! But it’s a good thought and I don’t want to lose it.


Kay E. Conklin

Contributing columnist

Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.

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