Sunday, March 9, 2014


My sisters and I are beginning to clean out my mom's patio home. She's lived there for about twenty years, and it's 3,900 square feet, filled to the brim with treasures my mom has collected.

And it's in this cleaning out that I am remembering how very different my sisters and I really are.

If you were to put the three of us on a spectrum, with one end being someone who doesn't like to get rid of anything, and especially not anything that has the least bit of sentimental value, that's where you would find me.  And at the way opposite end--someone who purges everything and has no interest in hanging on to anything with sentimental value-- that would be my sister, Nancy. My youngest sister, Betsy, would fall right in the middle.

Perhaps that might explain the list of things I carried home in my car today:
  • A sampler cross-stitched by my great, great grandmother, Agnes Mary Skelton, in 1862
  • Four aprons and a box of handkerchiefs from my grandmother, Grace Wolberg
  • The gold-plated library card given to my grandmother when she retired from the Chicago Public Library in the early 1970's
  • A makeup bag and jewelry case purchased by my mom at Marshall Fields in Chicago
  • A salmon-colored lap robe hand knit by one of my mom's best friends
  • A tin can filled with buttons that my mom has collected over many years
  • A box of thread (probably about 50 spools) that my mom used to get out when my grandmother came and did sewing projects with us
  • A linen table cloth owned by my grandmother
  • A three corner pillow similar to the ones my sisters and I always had in our bedrooms for before bed reading
  • Two oil paintings given to our family after we made a donation to Hospice in honor of my dad
  • Two photographs of sunset in the Grand Caymans taken by my sister's friend
I also brought lots of other less sentimental stuff:
  • An extra set of silverware (which we really do need, given that my boys seem to not understand the difference between plastic silverware, which can be thrown out, and metal silverware, which was not intended to be disposable)
  • A bathmat
  • A bathroom scale
  • A table runner
  • A raincoat
  • A magazine holder
  • Twenty-five pairs of brand new underwear that my mom bought, then never took out of the package
  • A garbage bag filled with sweaters my mom doesn't want
And now I'm trying to find places to put all of this stuff in my 1,000 square foot, not very organized bungalow. The thing that's really scaring me is that we've only done two rooms- my mom's bedroom and bathroom.  There's probably about 3,600 square feet to go…

1 comment:

Linda B said...

Your 'things collected' sound like the stuff I adore, so special, Carol. I hope you can enjoy each thing and find a good place for all. The useful things are nice too, of course, but the hankies, I still have a few, & some pillow cases that my grandmother embroidered. I love them! Best wishes doing all that. It still isn't easy!