Since my Grandma Elizabeth moved into a new, smaller apartment a couple of months ago, my mom has slowly been bringing home more and more of the items saved from a life long lived.
In one car load came 10 complete sets of embroidered dish towels – enough for each one of Grandmaâ€™s great-grandchildren on the Buntjer side – along with several small pieces of glassware and a pocket watch that once belonged to Grandpa. In all, Grandma had 31 completed sets of dish towels sheâ€™d embroidered – more than enough to distribute among all of her great-grandkids.
A framed hardanger piece I made several years ago was also brought home, along with the cross-stitched Footprints in the Sand piece I gave Grandma when she moved into Willmar from the farm a dozen years ago. Both have since found a place on my walls to enjoy.
Mom and I spent a couple of days with Grandma last weekend, reminiscing with her about the â€œgood old daysâ€ as we sorted through three large boxes of family photographs. I finally saw a picture of my Great-Grandpa Miller – his wedding photo no less – and decided a couple of my Kohls cousins carried his resemblance.
On Sunday, Mom and her brothers divided up the images and carried them off to their own homes. We brought a box back with us, along with a bag filled with letters Grandma had saved from family and friends over the years.
Though Mom was determined to toss the letters, I was more reluctant. This is Grandmaâ€™s life â€¦ we just canâ€™t toss these things away.
Then again, Iâ€™m not quite the saver my Grandma – or my mom – are, for that matter. I keep Christmas cards for one year. When Christmas rolls around, I pull my card holder out of the closet, empty its contents into the recycling bin and start my collection over.
Birthday cards have a much shorter life span in my house, though Iâ€™m pretty sure Iâ€™ve never tossed a thank-you note.
All of the purging of Grandmaâ€™s things has pushed my parents into a purging mode of their own. The day before I left on Honor Flight, they hauled a pick-up load of stuff into town that belonged to me â€¦ an entire pick-up load. By the time I met them at my house over my lunch hour, they had already unloaded everything – splitting up the items between my basement and living room. (I think they were afraid I wouldnâ€™t let them unload some of the items!)
I had no time to sort through the mess before the trip, and for the week after I got back home, I was still too busy to deal with it. My house was an absolute disaster area and I got real tired of seeing bags of dolls, stepping around my Barbie Jeep (although I was glad to see it still existed!) and wondering what in the world to do with the 4-foot-tall metal childâ€™s stove dropped off on my basement floor. More than likely they will all end up on a garage sale since I have no children of my own to pass them on to.
Aside from the dolls, stuffed animals, kitchen set and childâ€™s dishes, my folks dropped off a bag filled with school papers Mom apparently couldnâ€™t bear to part with.
There were writing tests (my teacher was quite the stickler for penmanship), spelling tests, math quizzes and just general school work. It was evident that at one time, my life revolved around Cs, Ss and Ns â€¦ commendable, satisfactory and non-satisfactory.
I havenâ€™t found enough time to go through the whole stash yet, but you can imagine where those papers are going once Iâ€™ve finished looking through them. Yes, Mom will probably be disappointed that she hung onto them for 30-plus years, only to see me toss them into the recycling bin in one swift move.
While it was an easy decision to sell the toys and toss the papers, another â€œgiftâ€ the folks delivered that day was a baggie filled with all of the cards they received congratulating them on the arrival of their baby girl. Oh boy, now Iâ€™m in a quandary â€¦ do I keep them, or toss them.
Mom said I should keep them, considering I lost my baby book (Misplaced would be a better word, but until I dig through all my totes and tear the house apart, Mom will say I lost it.)
Alright, so Iâ€™ll hang onto the cards until I find the book. What good will it do anyway? Some day when Iâ€™m gone, some poor niece or nephew is going to look through it and toss it in the garbage and I wonâ€™t mind. Now, if one of my treasured, hand-stitched needlework pieces to be passed on to the kids ever ends up on a household sale, I might just roll over in my grave.