Perhaps one of the hardest things we had to do prior to moving to Ecuador was to sort through the “stuff” we both had accumulated in sixty years of living and decide what to give to the kids, what to sell, what to store, and what to toss out. Mary did a remarkable job of sorting, advertising, selling, donating, packing and storing items until all of our possessions were reduced to four fifty pound suitcases, two large carry-on bags, and some thirty plastic bins which we left behind at Carrie’s house in Ohio.
The process was quite liberating as we came to realize that we really did not need all of that stuff and we got a great deal of joy seeing the appreciation in the faces of many people who became the new proprietors of our donated items. Still there were those thirty plastic bins that had to be sorted and taken care of. Much of our vacation time last year was spent sifting through those bins deciding what should be given as heirlooms to the kids, what clothes we were never going to wear again, and what we should wrestle down to Ecuador as additional baggage.
Among the items left behind last year was a shadow box containing mementoes I had accumulated during my service at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Its’ bulky size and glass cover presented packing challenges and we left it in one of the bins to be handled later. Well later came this July when, on our recent trip to the United States, we took the time to pull out the remaining bins. We found that the shadow box had yellowed and some of the varnish was peeling, so we decided to just pull the pins and badges from the box and bring them down to remount in a new setting after we arrived.
A week ago, Mary spotted a picture frame set that looked like it might be suitable for mounting the pins and yesterday I spent some time making this.
The collection consists of my Olympic credentials, an official Olympic Police badge, and various pins I amassed during the event. I was still working with the FBI at the time the Olympics came to Salt Lake City and I was assigned to be the site liaison at two venues (Park City Resort and Deer Valley Mountain Resort). These credentials allowed me access to the venues including back scene areas amongst the athletes.
My kids asked me what exactly a site liaison Agent does and I always responded that we, “Laze!” Thanks in part to all of the excellent work my colleagues and others did in the preparation to the Olympics I really was able to pretty much laze around my sites where very few law enforcement issues had to be handled.
One of the panels contains mostly pins from many of the police and federal law enforcement agencies who worked together to ensure that the games were kept safe for visitors and competitors alike.
Another panel contains mostly FBI pins including pins made to look like FBI credentials for each of the three Olympic mascots and a highly coveted pin that looks like miniature handcuffs.
The last panel contains a serialized official Olympic Police badge and a set of FBI badge pins in the Olympic colors.
Mary and I were also able to fit several other keepsake and personal items in with our luggage this last trip and are slowly getting around to hanging these up. We have repainted the wall in our front room and are ordering some different furniture. After that arrives we will decide where things should be positioned and hung up. For now this collection of pins and memories will sit on a bookcase awaiting a spot on our wall.
Life is good in Ecuador!