Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Cleaning up memories

This past weekend, we cleaned out Grandpa's apartment and moved his stuff back to Big E. Sandy and I then cleaned the apartment after the menfolk took everything home. Mom somehow got out of this part, because she was at the elevator. It's harvest, so she had to be there, but dang, it was a convenient excuse!

After we had the apartment empty, we drove down and started on the house. Oh my. Note to self: do not buy any more crap. And throw away all the crap you have... Seriously, Grandma and Grandpa haven't thrown anything away in years and years. And, fortunately, Mom was able to join us. (She had help at the elevator, and they weren't getting in many trucks, so she got to help.)

We started out in the house, watching the guys haul in furniture...and being typical men, they just stacked it where ever, willy-nilly. We left it for a while. Mom had ordered a big construction dumpster and the first thing that went into that dumpster was the loveseat. It was literally rotting, but Grandma and Grandpa loved that icky old thing, so it was still there, in the house. The second thing to go into the dumpster was that 1952 wool mattress that weighed about 1000 lbs. Ok, maybe not 1000 lbs, but it was heavy. And then the springs went on top. YEAH!

Then the hard part started. Where to start, what to do with all the...stuff... We discussed having a sale, but really, nothing is valuable. We talked about a garage sale, but no one ever comes to Big E for a garage sale, it's been tried and failed. Ok, then we discussed Sandy and I taking stuff and trying to have a garage sale in our communities, but we really couldn't face boxing up all this stuff just to make a few dollars. In the end, we decided to just toss the majority and divvy up the rest, again, setting aside things that we thought someone in the family could use. Miss Kat and her BFF, Miss Jenna rescued some stuff. Which means, that Miss Jenna took home some lovely pieces back to Colby. Thanks Jenna!

Before the day was over, we'd filled up the dumpster. We moved from the house out to the garage and to the trailer house. Most of what we tossed was from the garage and trailer. But we did find some interesting things...

In the garage, there was an old barrel that was sealed. In it, we found, Mom's baby quilt, a pair of a child's bloomers and 1/2 a corset. Under these were more quilts--old quilts that were shot when they were sealed up. We looked at them all, and we know that there are people who love old quilts, but these were just shot and not worth saving, cause believe me, we examined them and debated but, in the end, they went in the dumpster. (they were really nasty. Sandy thought that they were saved in case Grandma and Grandpa ever got poor again, they'd have something to keep warm with.) I kept the bloomers and showed them to the girls, who were not impressed with bloomers for underwear. (Somehow, the thought of them being crotchless just turned the girls off. Big ick factor for them!)

There were a couple of neat discoveries, in the trailer, we found a box labeled "Carol and Sandy baby clothes." There were little dresses and coats and an outfit of Sandy's that Mom remembered her wearing a lot--with rubber pants still intact. There were also cards from when Sandy was born. Remember, she was a "surprise" child, and many of these cards talked about what baby boys needed, and how nice it was to have a boy. Quick reminder here, Sandy is NOT a boy. But, we decided these must have been from a shower before Sandy was born and that most in the community thought she'd be a boy. It was an interesting peek into 1950's society.

We also found an old suitcase with my Mom's high school scrapbooks in it and other "stuff". One item was a thank you note, from my Dad that said:

Thank you for the tie, HONEY. I hope someday you'll be getting mail addressed as Mrs. instead of Miss. Hope it's soon! Eugene

I love you."

Now, I got a kick out of finding that, and shared it with...well, everybody... Mom got embarrassed, Dad got a laugh out of it. But, it's neat finding something that shows your parents as young people, in love. It was my favorite find.

But, we filled the dumpster, so we had to stop. We've still got lots of cleaning to do and lots of crap to get rid of. Those short episodes of fun are necessary when you find a box of Reader's Digest magazines from 1952, and you find yourself wondering why were they saved? Really, why? That's a question we asked repeatedly, why did they keep this stuff?

It's hard, dirty, but necessary work. I'll be glad when it's done...and, honestly, it will be sad too, because when it's done, we will all have closed a chapter in our lives and this is one chapter that I don't want to see end. I understand that this needs to be done, but...but...this is all evidence of a life--of the life of a family...and once we're done, it will be over...and, in the end...well...it will be the end...

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