In the late 1990s, Inette Miller shed almost all her possessions – house, car, furniture, clothes, even a mink coat – and moved from Portland to Hawaii to live in cars, tents and borrowed homes with the love of her love, a Hawaiian man she met on vacation.
The former Vietnam war correspondent for Time magazine – who donated journals and other documents to Gonzaga University when she made the life change – role-modeled for her then teenage sons how people can live without a lot of “stuff.” But even Miller has her moments of doubt.
“I had photo albums up the kazoo,” Miller, 66, said in a recent phone interview from the Seattle area where she was promoting her memoir “Grandmothers Whisper.”
“One box went to my kids’ father for when they were older. My oldest son is now 31. He’s married. They have a little house. His father said ‘It’s time to take the box of family albums.’
“My son said, ‘Mom, I’m going to tell you straight out. I’m going to pick out a few that mean something, and I’m dumping the rest.”
Miller drew in a deep breath. Trash the photos! But then she realized “I had to shut my mouth.”
A generational revolution is coming as aging boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) begin to downsize. What will they do with all their stuff? Well, they won’t easily pawn it off on their grown kids.