How do you measure a lifetime?
Mom had her own weight in photographs. Every time we open a drawer or a box, we find more. I brought a full trunk home with me to sort through, but they’re my father’s mother’s, and some of them date to mid-1800’s or so based on the daguerreotypes and clothing. Some have names. Most don’t. I should have written or taped everything Mom ever told me about Grandma Mac’s side.
None of the Allenbys are actually related to me. My paternal grandfather was adopted into the family, and the albums and bible were passed down through him. You can’t throw these things away, but I’m wondering what we’re going to do. Store them for yet another generation?
Mom seems to have kept almost every card she was given. My grandmother was worse in that she kept letters, too. It was pretty astonishing finding two notes written by my dad in second and third grade to his grandmother. None of it is organized. Heck, it’s not even in the same boxes. Grandma’s stuff is with my other Grandma’s stuff is mingled with Mom and Dad’s stuff and all our kids. Even the boxes that pretend to be organized aren’t. And if I find any more unidentified locks of hair… (Two today. Please, no more. Maybe if you know the person. But if it’s 50-year old hair? Not so much.)
We cleaned out Mom’s closet yesterday. Considering that Mom only left the house for doctor appointments and hospital stays this last year, she had more clothing than I have. We happened on some vintage pieces (40’s, I think) of my grandmother’s, both the coat and the top with lovely cuts and trimmed in fur. Real fur. Those we’re saving for the estate sale along with the nicer pieces Mom had. We cleaned out Mom’s bathroom, too.
And all this cleaning and sorting has convinced me that I can’t leave anything like this for my kids. I’m cleaning out the bathroom tomorrow, and I’m adding my closet to the list.
I’m pretty sure I’m focused on the ‘stuff’ of a lifetime so I don’t have to contemplate the hole in the center of me.