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My father gave me a slide projector in his will

Driving home from dropping off a donation at the thrift store I started to cry. I had given them a Kodak slide projector, and now I wanted it back.


Driving home I remembered the will. My dad had given me the slide projector in his will when he died in 1998. Why didn’t I remember how much I wanted the slide projector before I donated it?

I was trying to simplify my life and get rid of everything that I wasn’t using. Living with less as a key to finding happiness as suggested by Joshua Becker in his blog, becoming minimalist.  I wasn’t feeling very happy. 

And the Kodak slide projector became, at that moment, my father. I felt like I had given my father away. Maybe if I knew where his ashes were the slide projector wouldn’t have mattered. I could have gotten rid of it with no second thoughts. My step-mother has his ashes, where ever she lives. She moved, with no forwarding address, when he died. 

The slide projector became all of my childhood, memories and laughter. As I drove back to the thrift store to try to get the slide projector back I remembered the hum of the motor and the sliding click noise of the projector as we manually advanced one slide at a time.

Watching as a family on Sunday nights with popcorn the slides of our childhood.

I spoke to the man who had helped me unload my car at the thrift store; he said he would look for the slide projector. He looked at the photographs of the items I had donated after I dropped them off on the road in front of the donation bay in the back of the store. –

A few days later I went back to the store to see if he had found my slide projector. He said he found it and it was in the back employee only area of the store. I asked one of the managers if I could have it back.

She said, “No. You will have to wait for it to evaluated to see if it works, and it needs to be priced and put out on the floor.” She wouldn’t call me when they put it out, I would have to come to the store and see if it was there. She said she was only following store policy.

Then I asked to speak to the store manager. People make up rules, not machines. I wanted to speak to someone who had authority to make rules not just follow them.

As I waited for the manager to come from the employee area I prayed, “Please let me have the slide projector. Please don’t cry, please don’t cry. As if my mind could control the tears pooling behind my eyes. Feeling the loss of my father as if I had just heard he had died.

I showed the story manager the photograph I had taken of the slide projector in the back of the store when I dropped it off, and a photograph of the slide projector in my garage before I donated it.

Okay, okay, I will admit it. I could barely talk. I was bawling as I talked to her. The kind of crying when you can’t talk and it sounds like you are about to stop breathing. Telling her about my father, and how he had given it to me in his will, and I was trying to live with less because Joshua Becker said it was a good idea to find joy but I wasnt’ very happy right now and my father is dead, and I missed him, and I felt like I had given away my father, and could I please have it back, and I had been praying for days for them to find it and let me have it back and I would pay and please.

She said in all the years she had worked at the thrift store she had never given anything back, Apparently people come and take photographs of donated items in the back bay and then come into the store and  lie, saying they donated an item and now they want it back.

She said I could have the slide projector.


One day I will get rid of the slide projector. Or maybe I will put in my will, or maybe my children will donate it when I die. For now, the Kodak 500 slide projector sits in my office, reminding me of my father. He died on Saint Patrick’s Day, eighteen years ago.

I will plug the slide projector in today and listen to it hum.


I miss you daddy.

Pamela Hodges, William Fernuik and his dog






Thank you Liberty Thrift in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, for trusting me, and giving me back my slide projector. Your kindness will not be forgotten.


Do you have memories of your loved ones attached to objects? As always I love to chat with you. Please click here to comment. HERE

Writing every day in March with the Slice of Life challenge. CLi


About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Claudia

    I have in my curio cabinet a figurine of a young sailor. It was a gift from my dad to his mom during WWII, a gift that my grandmother passed on to me when I was in my early 20s. I knew my grandmother through her letters. I met her only twice in person, and that’s when I was a kid.

    Many years ago, my father-in-law gave me a set of Czechoslovakia Demitasse cups and saucers. I don’t know when or where he acquired them. I’m guessing when he was overseas during WWII. I did a bit of research and discovered these cups and saucers would have been manufactured in the 1920s. My father-in-law also gave me the camera that went with him when he went to war. I keep it in my curio cabinet.

    A few years ago, my husband and I moved to a smaller house and, as a result, we had to dispose of a lot of stuff. Until that time, I had my mother’s treadle sewing machine but it didn’t survive the move. I learned to sew on that machine when I was a kid.

    I have in my possession my mother’s wartime airmail letters sent to her eldest and favorite sibling. Her last letter to him came back with DECEASED stamped in red ink on the front of the envelope. Of course, she knew before receiving it that her brother was gone. Her parents would have been notified. My mother grew up in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of Montreal. Not a single family on her street escaped the loss of a child or children during WWII.

    I have a small collection of Occupied Japan china, most of which was gifted to me by family and friends. My little collection includes a teacup that one of my children found in a second-hand store. She was very excited with her find and so was I.

    My dad left me his first drafting tools and the little wooden box that contained them. I believe my dad purchased the boxed tools in the early 1950s. I also have a couple of little side tables he made for me.

    The things that I’ve mentioned here are not reminders of the people I loved and lost. You don’t forget your family and friends. You don’t forget the people who contributed in some way to the development of the person you are today. You don’t forget your past. The things I’ve mentioned above are just things. I love them for their sentimental value but at the end of the day, they remain just things.

    • Susan W A

      Oh, my goodness. I don’t have time right now to respond in depth, but I just read your post and I have to THANK YOU for your beautiful descriptions and wise words. I took a quick breath in when I read, “Deceased” stamped in red ink. Lovely lovely sentiments you’ve expressed throughout.

    • Hello Claudia,
      Thank you for sharing your memories and the stories that go with the objects you have saved.
      Each of the items you mentioned are so rich with their stories. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I have to remember they are just things.

      • Claudia

        Memories are sometimes all we’ve got.

  • Berdeane Bodley

    Pamela, I am so happy you were able to get back the slide projector, while looking at the things you had donated I noticed you had also donated the sewing machine I had given you, now why would you do that. I guess there are moments in our life when we feel we must de-clutter.

    • Hi Mom,
      The photograph was from my garage, not from what I had donated. Yes, sometimes we de-clutter and sometimes we keep stuff forever.

  • Susan W A

    Dear Pamela,
    I send a hug for your tender heart on this significant day. What a heart-warming story you shared. First I must say … darn the timing of making progress on getting rid of items to simplify your life!

    My goodness … you honor your father deeply. I’m proud of you for listening to your heart, taking all those steps to get back the Kodak slide projector, and not taking ‘No’ for an answer. I love that you took a picture with the store manager to commemorate the elation that comforted the panicked disappointment. I’m sure the manager felt blessed by her encounter with you that day.

    I can tell by the picture you shared of you and your father that he was immensely proud of his daughter. I can imagine that image shone by the heat of the bulb onto the make-shift screen on the wall.

    ka-click humm OH, remember that? ka-click humm Ha ha ha ha! Ka-click humm That was a fun time, wasn’t it?

    Wishing you many moments of tranquil reflection on your shared family memories safeguarded for now by the Kodak slide projector until such time as they may reside elsewhere.

    In solidarity,

    • Hello Susan W A,
      Thank you for your kind comment. It is fun that you know the sound I was thinking of. It was fun. A home movie.
      Thank you for your solidarity.x

  • Tear Jerker! I’m glad you got the projector back. Praying for you and your family today. *Huge Hugs!*

    • Thank you for the hugs Harvest.
      I felt them.

  • EmFairley

    I’m so glad you got it back and so sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers all day.

    Em xoxo

  • I am so glad you got your slide projector back. I miss my father too. I had a tape of his funeral service. It was on an old cassette tape. It tore up in my old player. I don’t know if I will ever be able to replace it. I know we all have tangible items we associate with the loved ones who have gone on.

    • Hello Mary,
      I am so sad your father died. Hopefully you can get the cassette fixed. At least no one can take away our memories.

  • Ona Feinberg

    Oh I was on the edge of my seat reading this. I am so glad you got it back. I was ready to call the place and beg for you! In tears at the end of your piece too – hoping that hum of the projector helps you remember good times.

    • Thank you Ona,
      I was so happy to get it back too.