“Give it all away, Jac,” he often says to me in his usual strong forceful way, often leading to yet another fight between us. 

“Never!” I would never give away my family’s heritage, their houses and things, the tangible embodiment of our happy lives. I will keep it for my future generations.

There is always pain in his eyes when he utters those words.  I don’t think he knows it. But I feel it. I hope I can put that pain to rest – just a bit – with something I discovered today for him.


His beloved parent died and left a huge hole in his heart. He kept a small box of precious souvenirs from their life together, things like dinner plates. Only a small box, but as he leads an itinerant lifestyle and has no fixed abode, after years of storage, he decided to donate his keepsakes to charity, as his sister did not want them.

He took it to a charity shop. His precious memorabilia – so much love in the little knick-knacks of life – was rejected by the charity shop. ‘We can’t sell them,” the lady told him.

He tried another charity shop. The same response.

And another, until a kindly lady took pity on him and suggested that he took the box to a recycling centre where one of the men working there might want to take it home, or know some family who might want those much-cherished dinner plates.

This is a council-run recycling centre in the UK that I went to today to get rid of some old household stuff:


At a place such as this one years ago, the man manning a skip had told him, “Just dump it in there.”

He was heartbroken. “Don’t you want them?”

‘No,” came the answer. “You are not the only one who brings in stuff like that. We have too much.”

And so, those much loved plates were no more. Along with it went a young boy’s precious memorabilia of happier times, and though a big, strong and successful man now, I often see the hurt boy. He who travels the world with no luggage.

As I drove out, I saw this sign. I hope he takes comfort in this and begins to mend the hole. Those plates have gone to a better place ❤