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This is Part One of a Three Part Story!
Seven years ago when my mother died, I had the chore of clearing out her household goods; and what a task it was! My only sibling lives in North Carolina, and he was very agreeable to my making ALL decisions regarding the estate.
Looking at Mom's attic, I found countless garments from the 1940s to 2010, when she left her home shortly before her death: dresses - some almost dry-rotten from the heat of the attic - shoes, funny little hats, purses. There was even a silky pink bridesmaid dress that Mom wore in her sister Janie's wedding. There were many canning jars stored along one side of the attic wall. Boxes and boxes of canceled checks were found, and records of seemingly every business transaction made during her marriage added to the paper trail. An old kerosene cook stove stood forlornly near the chimney - relegated to the attic when the electric stove came along - its burners longing to heat up again! Wardrobes and trunks held countless items of yesterday. A double bed and cot on one side and another double bed across the room provided many an overnight getaway for visiting grandchildren throughout the years.
Mom believed in saving almost everything. Each Christmas she would eat her annual box of Whitman's candy and tuck the empty box in an open cubbyhole under the steps leading to the attic ‘just in case she needed it to wrap something in.’ Downstairs a closet contained Christmas gifts given to Mom during her many years as a schoolteacher. Christmas cards she saved, also - they were just too dear to toss in the trash. Those were the days when people actually wrote personal notes at Christmas. The very small closets and bureaus downstairs were also crammed full of clothes. Costume jewelry adorned her dresser. Mom lived through the depression so she felt that there might someday be a need or use for all these things, and she just couldn't trash them. As I spent hours and hours making decisions about what to do with all this and what to do with all that, I vowed MY children would not be subjected to this - that I would get rid of many of my things.
SURPRISE, SURPRISE! Seven years later and I feel myself changing into my mother. I start going through things and find it hard to part with much at all. There are far too many pictures and far too many mementos of the past. I have managed to pare down a considerable amount of paperwork, however. Dishes I've acquired through the years are hard to part with. There's a kitchen table from Grandma Robertson's house; we all used to sit at that table. A chair from Grandma's living room. A beautiful little desk from Grandpa Parker's home. A china clock and huge rolltop desk long in the Boyd family. I know I can't take all of this with me; but by darn, it's hard to give it up! I look in the mirror and can actually see myself metamorphosing into Doris Parker Robertson - and it's not a bad thing! Oh, what the heck--MY children can clear out MY house! It's a family tradition - and a mother's ultimate revenge!!
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