DO NOT DO THIS TO YOUR CHILDREN!
For six weeks, I have been cleaning out my parents home. The good news/bad news is this:
Bad news: the reality they will not return, now that they’re in assisted living.
Good news: they are, for the most part, content. Mother is thriving. Loves the food. In her words, “Why would I want to go home and have to cook three meals a day again?” (We use the term cook loosely here…)
Bad news: They don’t know I’m doing this.
Good news: Dad thinks he is down South at a hotel or resort. Works for us.
Bad news: They moved three times in their married life: 1948, 1952 and 1994.
Really bad news: They just moved everything with every move.
Here are a few of my findings:
Found a few of their wedding invitations. And a few of ours. I sent one out last week to a friend who said she didn’t receive one in 1977. As much as I hated to, I put “no gifts, please” inside, but seriously, who couldn’t use some new towels or cookie sheets after 36 ½ years? Maybe she’ll reconsider.
Report cards from Mom’s 2nd through 8th grade, if this gives you an idea of the paper volume I’m managing.
Baby cards from when both my sister and I were born.
A gazillion plastic bags from the grocery. Mom rarely said, “Paper.” One had a 1999 receipt in it. With this generation (she is 89) I don’t really think it’s hoarding, because she was neat about it, but God bless these children of the Depression era. However, I am not, so what’s my excuse going to be?
A tender moment: the storeroom is massive. A bowling alley could be erected in there. Or a golf range. The “home” my children and niece developed for play was left exactly the way they played house the last time. Maybe 15 years ago. They are 22 and 24 now. I hated to dismantle it.
My trophy: In 1973, Jeff built me a trophy case for my swimming awards, for Christmas. (I peaked at age 8. It was downstream from there.) Last week it finally got moved to my own home! Have I the patience of a saint, or what? It’s been so long, I don’t even know where the trophies are anymore. May be time to take up a new sport. One with no competition so I can collect some hardware. Haha. I may just leave it empty to signify my new direction in life: to live light. Live light in the sense that most of the stuff we keep is just that. Stuff. While it’s sweet to reminisce, the next generation (at least mine) will pitch it as fast as you can say, “DUMPSTER DIVING”. Each of my children have received a call and a promise, that I will not do this to them.
The first week I put 30 trash bags out for collection. Neighbors, Lou and Gail, walked over to assist. That was so great of them. Not to mention it was amusing to see my OB/GYN hauling trash. How funny is that! He even found matching stadium seats. I didn’t charge him, but it was tempting…
My friend Nancy, came to help me when the dumpster arrived. We ran out of Hefty bags. I told her how much exercise we would get going up and down the stairs, hauling Western Union telegrams for my parents wedding, (yes I kept one or two), and dance costumes from 1950 forward. (donated to the theater). And a corsage from someone’s high school prom, circa 1942. Nancy’s all about exercise, so she helped. The exercise I’ve gotten from lifting, hauling, sorting and therapeutic slinging is definitely a bonus. Because for six weeks, I have little time for the gym, obviously. I am also mindful of the fact that my children will never find six weeks to haul, sort, and sling my own stuff. I plan to take a needed break, and then do the same exercise routine at my own house. Let the slinging begin!