Friday, May 16, 2014


I am in Florida this weekend addressing some odds and ends that need to be so addressed in my folks' home.  Went to the bank today, but besides that, and throwing out items in the refrigerator, I had a hard time getting out of the box to address the various things that need attention.

About 8 pm I got a second wind and headed into the garage.

My father was not a hoarder. Or so I thought. It was my mother who did not like to throw much out.  I can remember my dad's kisser like it was yesterday when they were packing to move to Florida in the late 80s.  I went down to the basement to get something and there he was jamming, with obvious annoyance, dried Lipton soup mix into a carton.  My dad never disparaged my mother, but that day his face all but shouted, "I guess they don't have dried Lipton soup in Florida."  I'm laughing right now thinking about it. ( I am clearly not with it. Should have written. FOFLOL, which I believe stands for, falling on the floor laughing out loud).

So, given my dad's tendencies to throw things out, I was surprised at how many paper clips I found in the basement. When the messiah comes, if he stops here, he will not be hurting for paper clips.  Must be thousands of them in the garage.  In addition to the old boxes, I saw that he must have recently purchased several new boxes that are still in their Office Depot container.

Except for the paper clips, there was no evidence of hoarding.  Just an organized guy who had been around the track enough to accrue various items that might no longer be necessary.  I think my trip to his desk tomorrow might be more difficult as instead of pulling up cleansers, and folders, and clips, I will find some writings which will reflect the unusual kind man that he was.

But the clips got me thinking of what someone would think of me if I met the reaper and this other person had the task of going through my paraphernalia.  I think I take after my mother more than dad, but I don't have a thing for chicken soup.  I keep emotional nostalgia.  I have a jacket from the high school fraternity I joined,  a sheet exhorting a football team I played on to defeat its rival, and assorted letters from family, buddies, and sweethearts.  I came across one such card recently which read, "I know you don't believe me, but try because it's true, there's no one nicer in this camp, I'd rather go with than with you. Love always."  Well, yes, true, she did not comment on boys outside the camp with whom she'd prefer to cavort, and yes, also true, she subsequently married a dentist, so the sincerity of the sign-off might be questioned, but still...

Now, with my folks gone, heartfelt letters from them are great to read.  My folks never missed a birthday and of all her various assets, my mother's greatest strength was her ability to find a card that truly was meaningful when she wanted to be so meaningful.  Me, I look in the drugstore for a half hour, and cant find anything that is remotely on target. Not mom. She found them.

Our clips, our vestiges when we are no longer here, are telling.  This, of course, is the point of archeology, but on a micro level I think it is also telling.  My mother never, ever, ever used regular stationery when she was writing grocery lists. She would take the back of some flier, rip it into fourths, and use it for stationery.  In the garage tonight I found stacks of unopened lined pads for such list making.  A child of the depression growing up with a single mother and four kids, can make you hoard lined paper and dried soup mix.

I don't know who will look at my droppings when the time comes, and I plan to do nothing to alter my natural tendencies in order to leave a more attractive picture, but I hope the clips from my life are positively revealing.

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