Out with the old

Barbara Lawlor

Kayla Evans pulled three bags out of her Forerunner and said, “Look at this,” holding a black ledger,Kayla Evans “every single check that my mom wrote until she died.” The ledger contained a detailed list of the checks and what they were for: water bills, ranch expenses, household bills and groceries.
When Par Evans died, Kayla and her sister Tammy went through her belongings. When they started on the paper work they discovered that even the paid bills brought back memories. They could picture their mother meticulously recording the checks, a financial account of their history. As they reminisced, they decided they couldn’t deal with the ledgers at that point and stored them.
Many of us have saved these records, thinking that someday we may need them. Maybe they held sentimental value, a written factual description of life at another time. When Kayla heard of the Shred-a-Thon, she dug out her mother’s bound ledgers, put them in a bag with other records and let go of them emotionally.
She brought them to the Nederland Community Center on Saturday, July 20, and poured them into a waste bin. When the bin was full, Kyle Slade, lead driver for Xpress Shred, pushed the button that lifted the bin and then dumped the paper into the shredder.
A monitor of the inside of the shredder showed the papers being pushed into the maw, gone forever. The Shred-a-Thon was a first-ever event sponsored by the Nederland Police Department and coordinated by NPD Administrator Lois Ott. A police car parked at the entrance to the center was manned by Sue Leto who told people where to go.
Ott said she wasn’t sure how successful the venture would be, but ended up pleased with the results. AtShredder the end of the day, 35 different people brought in 76 boxes of paper to be shredded, resulting in 2,500 pounds of confetti. She said that the numbers were good considering it was a fledgling project and people weren’t sure of what it was about.
“The Shred-a-Thon will help people prevent their own identity theft,” Ott said. “The proceeds will go to the Police Department’s new CrimeStopper program, which encourages people to come forward with confidential information which could lead to the arrest and conviction of criminals.”
The Town of Nederland gave $1,500 to start the CrimeStoppers, and the Shred-a-Thon will allow the department to offer more reward money to make giving information more attractive. The people who came to get rid of their ancient paperwork were appreciative of the opportunity. Many of them said it was a good reason to go through their amassed collection of bills, taxes and paper trail of their lives, all of which contain financial information that could be dangerous if ending up in the wrong hands.
Ott said that next year she will get the word out sooner, maybe closer to tax time when people are going through their records anyway, or maybe include it with the town cleanup.
Nancy Stubbs said getting rid of the old records was a freeing experience. It is good to get rid of the physical ties to the past and to the numbers and facts that are no longer relevant in one’s life.