Hoarding or not
Dee Gatrell ©
I never thought of myself as a hoarder until recently. I was looking through pictures to find some to send to a few cousins who wanted pictures of their parents. That’s when I discovered that I have thousands of pictures. They start from the time I was a few months old up to now.
Cousin Vicki wanted pictures of her dad. He was three years older than me and was my uncle. He passed away probably 10 years ago. Those who go early in the family mostly were smokers and drinkers, it’s a long family tradition.
It seems I broke that tradition. Instead I think my bad habit is hoarding.
In addition to all those pictures, I was cleaning out my dad’s old cedar chest and discovered, possibly hundreds of letters. They are letters from nearly every family member, including an aunt who died forty-some years ago. When email was new, I started saving them, too, but now don’t. Thankfully, email is saving me space in my closets.
I hate to admit this, but I think I have large cans and a chest filled with letters in the attic. I don’t go to the attic, so they’ll be there until I croak and my children will be complaining about my addiction.
In addition to family letters, I discovered letters from people I worked with at Superior Court in Indiana about 30 years ago. I also discovered a certificate for profession paralegal secretary or something like that. The court house was different to work at. Gabe, the probation officer, was fun to be around. The lawyers that came to the office were funny and enjoyed telling us stories. The one Judge from Indianapolis was hot and we all drooled over him. Or maybe it was me doing the drooling. Shhh, don’t tell my hubby! Anyhow, I loved listening to his stories about the folks he had to deal with. When Gabe wrote she filled me in on what was going on at the court house, the people who worked there and the cases. I wish we hadn't lost contact.
Sometimes we were sent into the creepy attic to get files. It was said there were ghosts up there. I just know it scared the heck out of my when I had to go there. Spooky!
Other letters were from my Aunt Mildred who would often write from the hospital telling me that was her vacation spot. She was funny. And my dad often spoke about “your dear sweet mother” and how he was cleaning the cupboards, doing the house cleaning and babying her.
I’ve decided one day I’m going to actually go through all those letters. Who knows? I may get writing material from them. We had a male friend Larry had been in the military with who wrote stuff about his dates that I’m sure they wouldn’t have wanted us to know. He married three times. I still stay in touch with wife #1 and his kids. Wife #2 was a whack job and wife #3 sounded more intelligent, but I’ll just leave it there. The friend told me before he married wife #2 and 3 they were told they had to write me letters. I didn’t know this was a criteria for their marriage or I would’ve told him what I really thought. #2 reminded me of someone I knew and I would never have suggested he marry her. #3 did seem smarter, but there were red flags there, too. Of course, he was an alcoholic, so he had red flags, too.
I can always pick out something that came from my Aunt Martha. She was 5 years older than me and also died right after Uncle Donnie. She loved to underline words on a card. Slash, slash, slash—that was Martha. I still miss her.
Now it’s time to finish cleaning the mess off my bed and wonder what I’ll do with the rest of the mess.
We all have to have our own addictions, right?
So what’s yours?