Thursday, July 22, 2010

Keepers

I was reading Leanna Walker's column yesterday in our Rogers Morning News. We are lucky to have her as editor of our local paper and once a week she writes a commentary that is always insightful. Her topic was "Just Throw It Away," not very environmentally friendly for an area that prides itself on being "green"...but it hit home with me. She was talking about having to go through her godmother's things after her death last month. She was lost deciding what to keep, what to throw and amazed at the things that her godmother had kept.

I felt that way too after Mom's hospital stay in 2005 resulted in her need to be closer to us. She had lived on her own at the farm as long as she could safely. It would have been a very hard thing to make her move, but her positive attitude helped me cope with the hard days that lay ahead of us.

As I cleaned and sorted through the lifetime of possessions, it was nearly impossible to decide what to bring and what to leave. Even harder was what to throw. Some things didn't need much thought though. Mom had saved shopping bags, twisty ties, rubber bands, wrapping paper, sugar packets. She was a saver alright, there were sacks of paid receipts going back to the 1970's. She never threw anything away that she thought she "might" need down the line. Mom and Dad never owned a shredder, they wouldn't have used it anyway. I'm not criticizing her record keeping, just the opposite...I was amazed at her ability to manage that farm and her savings. She had scrimped and saved despite her meager income. We could all learn something from her diligence with restraint, Americans have let that aspect get out of control in our lives. We never say no to a purchase it seems, regardless of whether we really need it or not.

But the daunting task of purging the excess of old cards, checking every envelope for something that might be accidentally thrown and going through what might be important papers was so hard. It took weeks and along the way I discovered treasures. Pictures from long ago, pictures of Mom as a child. I found a little blue silk baby book that held the precious clippings of her hair and handwritten memories of her childhood. Even tax receipts dating back to the late 1800's when her Father inherited the farm from his Dad. It seems she came from parents who also saved things.

Mom treasures a picture album that we made together after she moved to Rogers. We started with 1946, the year Mom and Dad married and it has over 300 pictures of our family through the years. Sometimes when I visit her at Jamestown we sit and look through the album. She can't always recall names now, but the memory remains in her heart just like it was yesterday.

7 comments:

  1. Joycee, You are lucky to have those beautiful pictures and lovely memories. I too have pictures that make me happy whenever I look at them. I saved letters from my Grandmother and Father that I received over the years. I love to read them. I have some cherished items as well. Have a wonderful day :-)

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  2. I am here in Colorado helping my sister-in-law do this very same thing....her husband passed away last year. She is going through each and every paper etc...I want to say "just toss it" but she is doing it in her own way and that is good...I'm not a pack rat but this makes me wanting to be even less than one...we just don't need all this stuff...as my dad says.."My stuff is in my heart and mind"...

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  3. I don't envy your having to sort through a lifetime of 'savings', but a well written post. Always enjoy visiting with you!

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  4. Farida and Nasreen have accused me of being a pack rat, and I guess it's true. My current dining room table is one my mom and dad bought when I was 12. (That would be 55 years ago!) It's not my style, and it's pretty beat up, but I can't give it up. Covered with a table cloth, it looks okay and saved me from having to buy a new one when I moved in March.

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  5. I'm having to change my blog background today so please bear with me...I am not good with change! Anyone else having trouble logging onto thecutestblogontheblock website???

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  6. This post + this song.
    "Can you hand me a Kleenex?"

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  7. I think this would be a very difficult thing to do.......haven't had to face this yet myself.

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