Downsizing our household became imperative prior when moving to our new home,  Becketwood Cooperative.  A major project involved changing approximately twenty-five slide carousels to DVD discs. Recently we spent an evening reviewing the contents of several boxes of memorabilia and “treasures”  we brought along from our separate offices to our Cooperative home. Little survived the scrutiny and true treasures were almost nonexistent. “Supposed treasures” discarded and not missed – that’s that and taken care of.  We wish to TRAVEL LIGHT,   or hopefully, Lighter.

Recalling to mind the difficult process of downsizing, surely a daunting task, one must distinguish true treasure from the nonessential.  It is FAMILY that makes a house a home?  Downsizing can bring real pain and anxiety but also precious memories of family life in the family’s various homes over the years.  With that in mind our recent downsizing recalled the pleasure of family memories  brought to mind reducing slide carousels to DVD format. Christmas 2007 our children were given discs recalling family memories of their childhood , youth,  and young adulthood in their parental home.  I wrote at that Christmas observance:

“Christmas 2007  Memories come to mind while downsizing our family slide collection to DVD format. 916 photos on four discs dated 1958 to 1985. Family picture-taking is usually a time of positive family experience. A quarter century of Bartling family photos suggests a theme similar to Disney’s animated film The Lion King  THE CIRCLE OF LIFE  ( an aside:  Viewing the film with grandchildren, especially granddaughter Carmen who was babysitting grandpa, those many years ago are a fond memory. All we had as children in the Depression Years was The Lone Ranger, Captain Midnight, Superman, and Tom Mix, always with the ear pressed to the big cabinet radio.)  A man and a woman marry, founding a family – children arrive – baptisms – infant years – school years – friendships made – holidays celebrated – religious observances – graduations – camping and vacations – new beaus and courtship — countships – engagements – weddings – grandchildren and cousins – extended family relationships reunions – uncles and aunts grandparents and great-grandparents –  the passing of loved ones. Family is a school for character and the microcosm of society. How meaningful then that our family is ENCIRCLED BY GRACE. GRACE  coming  that first Christmas as God’s incarnate love will always as in our family’s past encircle your family in its future CIRCLE OF LIFE.  With love to our children and grandchildren for sharing our generation’s CIRCLE OF LIFE. Gratefully – Pater et Mater Familias”

DOWNSIZING’S IMPERATIVE  – “TRAVEL LIGHT”.   Becketwood Cooperative where we reside has 200 living units and 250 members. Unit size varies from 800 sq, ft. to 1500 ft. Our unit has 1000 sq. ft.  Private storage areas are provided.  Some observations regarding “travelling light”.  Noticeable is the presence of dining room tables with six to eight chairs, often large sofas and stuffed lounge chairs, book cases laden with books. Most rarely use their dining tables having meals in the dining area.   One frequently hears comment to the effect storage area needs “downsizing”.  Indeed, what do we retirees really need for our comfort!  “Downsizing” tends to be, as Shakespeare has Hamlet state, “more honor’d in the breach than in the observance”.  Scriptural injunction suggests “having food and raiment let us therewith be content”.  What “observance”  do we give adequately to “downsizing”?  We easily become overwhelmed with “stuff”.  One may better observe  DOWNSIZING’S IMPERATIVE — “TRAVEL LIGHT’.

Published by profbartling1

Retired professor Concordia University, St. Paul, Mn. Taught mainly American History. Also taught in other areas of history, philosophy, and theology,


  1. Documenting life’s chapters is rewarding for so many reasons and I have really enjoyed looking at the pictures over and over again. Many pictures that you put on DVD are on this website and it is because of mom’s zeal for photography that we can enjoy them!

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