When my mother left my father she took nothing. She was working on her PhD and I very literally went to his house a day or two later and pretty much stole the computer, 2 cats, the TV from my bedroom, her textbooks, enough novels to give her reading material but not be obvious, and a few other random things. He was abusing the cats, so taking them was an easy first step and from there I took what I could because he wasn't paying attention. His theory was that her leaving him was abandonment of a disabled person (whatever that means, esp. when you have a live-in girlfriend), somehow the fault of country music, and that everything they had owned was his. Period. She was able to buy back some things eventually and also gathered a good bit of stuff from my grandmother's home (it was his mother but as part of the settlement she bought the house cheap and she cleaned it so rather than giving him everything she kept things he'd not notice.) So she had one box of random childhood books and a few boxes of childhood toys. When we were kids she had carefully packed and saved a number of our best, most expensive, durable toys, along with a few things that were going to be collectible (we had the entire Smurf village/Smurf set, for example). She's been digging out some things for my niece to have, and in the process discovered that unless I have a box that I am 100% sure I don't in my basement that somehow most of my toys did not make it. My Cabbage patch kids-gone. These other dolls I loved-gone. Part of my teddy bear collection is preserved, but the truth is that I didn't care much for that and the one that I would have liked, the first gift I ever got from a boy, is not there and the rest are not important to me. So that's sad.
But the funny thing is that while I wish I had one doll I could tell Little Anne was mine when I was a little girl, in a lot of ways I have better things. I have (I learned tonight) the first doll I ever had, which my grandma made for my 1st Christmas, with matching outfit for me. I have because for some reason he gave that much to me when he wanted my old bedroom for my little brother, a trunk of mementoes including many t-shirts I collected over the years related to different activities I did, prom pictures, some trophies and mementoes, the scrapbook I kept my senior year of high school with things like college acceptance letters, editorials I wrote for the school paper, etc. Because most things that I felt he could use to hurt me, like my childhood diaries, cards, notes from friends, etc. that I knew would be less hidden after I left are all gone because I burned them personally before I went to college. I never have regretted that because he'd already read my diary once and the second, secret diary that detailed the story of my first real boyfriend then the crash and burn after a few years could have been used to hurt me many ways. I will never be sorry for not letting him hurt me. But I do wish I had a few normal things from being a child. We don't even have pictures that make sense as my mom grabbed handfuls and the selection was random. It's fine, but it's strange, especially since the person who refused to give those things up truly didn't care and quite probably destroyed everything long ago.
Just another strange part of my life.