I complained a lot by the time we finally moved east in 2015. Our lives were thrust in turmoil from the moment we put the house on the market in mid-2012. It was like our house wasn’t ours anymore, but it was. Uneasy about letting any clutter lie around, beds unmade, or plan a big day of canning. We constantly had to be ready to show the house. Even less like our house after we rented a storage unit and packed a third of our belongings for what we thought would be 90 days. Try 1,200 days. Ugh. Why it took 3 years to sell a nifty lake home still puzzles me.
Our house in North Muskegon for 21 years…
There were advantages to renting that dang storage unit. We stored massive furniture pieces in it, giving our house a less cluttered, more open look. I’d pine over the spot where each piece had resided for 18 years. But it was the 2 rows of plastic tubs, all neatly stacked to the ceiling that simply oozed out of my memory bank.
We went through quite a few of the tubs when it became apparent the house sale was actually a reality. This was our first move in 20 years, and the first one where we’d be doing all the work of packing. And paying for it ourselves. Ouch. We needed to lighten our load. Didn’t do such a hot job in that department. Then the stark realization we could not keep everything. We wanted/needed to downsize. We hadn’t used several rooms of our house for years but there a disloyal feeling about selling a favorite antique, only to discover it’s just the size and would fit our new house perfectly. So we paid the movers to load 14,000 pounds of our belongings. This after we’d seriously gotten rid of a boatload of stuff.
This gorgeous piece I’ve only had 15 years so it had to go…
We bought a home a thousand square feet smaller and the movers unloaded everything in the house, basement and garage. We barely had room to walk. I moved, swapped, wrung my hands over pieces that just weren’t going to work. I kept telling myself, “it’s just stuff Neese, let it go.” So I’ve come to terms with what will and won’t work and I’m ok with that. I’ve managed to find spots for most of my favorites. The kids will take the rest or we’ll sell a few things. But to my surprise, one of the best parts of that annoying storage unit was finding some small, unexpected treasures.
Our much smaller house…
After my Mom passed away in 2004, Dad lived in their house another 4 months. It sold, and I had a week to pack, save or give away their stash of belongings. Dad and Mom had lived there for 50 years. My sister Mona and her 3 kids took quite a bit. The rest was for me and our children. Since Dad was moving to Michigan, he kept whatever he wanted for his new apartment. Which was added to my stuff after he passed away 3 years later. That’s really how I got bogged down with all these containers. I couldn’t keep up with the deaths and moves. Easier to ignore the stacks.
And that’s exactly why it’s been such a trip to go through these containers. I had to toughen up a bit when it hit I couldn’t keep everything. It was that or rent another storage unit. When I was agonizing over decisions I did not cave often. John tried to hurry me along, he thought I’d say, “heck, just haul it to Goodwill.” I used my outside voice and firmly stated, “dude, no way I’m getting rid of that. Maybe in a year, but for now, it stays.” Then he’d start whining, “we aren’t going to have a bunch of tubs just taking up space. Are you absolutely sure you really need this?” “Give it up John, I’m not selling or giving that away. Period.”
Dad was a lay minister, preaching at prisons and Gospel missions. I’ve saved his sermons.
For several weeks Hubs brought in containers from the garage. Knick-knacks I didn’t remember until I spotted them again. I have a dozen beautiful paper weights. (I thought I had 4). Now my bookcases are cluttered with too many things on shelves but it’s almost like getting new stuff cause I hadn’t seen it for 4 years. The items I kept is everything that was my brother Larry’s. He was killed in 1958 at age 12, while riding his bike. I was 7 and worshipped him.
Mona, me and Larry in 1953…
I call them Larry’s treasures. They mean more to me than all my antiques and collectibles combined. Sometimes I wonder why Mom kept certain things from him and not others. A pair of his swimming trunks, blue jeans, and one shirt. His baseball glove, pop gun, bubblegum machine, and billfold with most of his classmates pictures inside. Guess they were from 6th grade or maybe they had already gotten their 7th grade pictures back. That stuff I don’t wonder about and I’m glad Mom kept what she did.
Larry’s pop gun…
Here’s one of the more curious items I just found. The soft, thin string is very yellow with age. It had so many knots I truly thought about cutting it apart. But I really wanted to save it as original as possible. The trinkets attached to the string looked chintzy. For 45 minutes I painstakingly worked to untangle the mess. Careful to keep them in the same order Larry had put them on 65 years ago. A mish-mash of plastic, or metal looking tiny objects. I can only compare it to a girl’s charm bracelet or necklace-tough boy style. Since he passed away in ’58, they all date before that. Hubs offered his opinion as I was removing them one by one. He thinks they’re from Cracker Jacks boxes. One is a zodiac sign of Virgo that resembles a coin. A couple of dogs, bowling pins, gun, stagecoach, skull, plastic safety pin. And on the very end is a good sized nail. I didn’t even take that apart. It had a nice knot and wasn’t tangled up. I couldn’t imagine why a nail would be on the end. Uncomfortable if he carried this around in his pocket. John ventured he thought Larry hung it up somewhere. Using the nail. Hmmm.
So I’ve dedicated a couple of shelves in an antique oak bookcase for some of Larry’s and my old stuff. For me, part of a baking set with tiny cookie cutters, a jello mold, kaleidoscope, wooden rolling pin, stuffed animals. A little plaid pup that Larry gave me for Christmas. Although you’ve been gone a long time, not a day has passed when I haven’t thought about you Larry. Not as long as I live. Love ‘ya big brother…
6 thoughts on “Trinkets and Treasures…”
Larry's items: Priceless !
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You're right Paul. Absolutely love his baseball gloves. Everything that was his, clothes, toys, bible means the wold to me. Thanks for commenting. I really, really appreciate it…
I have inherited a lot of stuff and also collected alot more. i received a book from a friend 30 years ago callled CLUTERS LAST STAND..It is a wonderful book and it has helped me to get rid of many things. It recommends that you save ONE of a bunch of things to remind you of the good things about those experiences. You might want to read the book. (also they are very clear about DO NOT rent more storage areas..reduce down to the areas that you have..Good luck Cynthia
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That book sounds like good advice-except where Larry’s thing’s are concerned. I cannot get rid of any of his stuff, but it’s not that much, a few toys and odds and ends of his clothes. The kids took our antiques we no longer have room for. It’s strange to see those pieces in their homes instead of ours. Not to worry, we’re not renting another storage unit-ever. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope all is well with you. New knee must be ok, I’m still putting off having my second one replaced…