Tuesday, July 24, 2012


We have to haul our own garbage from the farm, so about once a month, we carry it to the well-organized landfill in Orofino. They have to pay tonnage to have the refuse trucked away and so they remove anything that might be salvaged or disposed of in another, less costly manner. They even have a “thrift store” of sorts – “Clearmart.”

During our last visit to the landfill, I spied this plywood lumberjack. I'm not sure if this is the lumberjack that was affixed to a service station in Orofino. At any rate, years ago someone cut and painted him and he stood in the weather somewhere. The attendant said she didn’t know anything about it and seemed baffled that I would take pictures.

So it’s come to this, I thought to myself. Something that was once new and shiny has weathered and we don’t want it. We’re trying to get rid of it, and even that is difficult.

I’ve had to adjust my concept with regard to the impact of passing time. I recognize that my grandmother’s and mother’s things are valuable because of they are old, but it’s harder for me to accept as vintage the eras through which I have lived.

For instance, I donated a decorative cut glass bowl to the rummage sale last spring. Several hours into the sale, it was still there and I discovered that someone had priced it at $7.50.

“$7.50,” I exclaimed. “This was a wedding gift, one of those gift items available at a discount store.”

“Tell me,” said another worker, “what year were you married? Whisper it to me.”

So I whispered “1975.”

“Well, it was a long time ago,” she said.

Really?! Hmmmm.

Today I did another big clean out. The stuff wasn’t mine. It belonged to a little girl who came to live with us, grew up, went away, got married. Somehow her little girl stuff stayed in the drawers, and when we moved, she still didn’t want to part with it. Her bedroom suite, which was mine before it was hers, came with us to the modular home, stuff and all, and there it stayed. But something has to happen because time doesn’t stand still and life has to be lived in the now. This furniture that met the needs of young girls now needs to serve a grandmother – or move on.

The challenge is to convert this room into a sewing studio / guest room. Obviously I need shelves and drawer space, but are these the right shelves and the right drawers? We have been considering the options, but no matter what we decide, the drawers had to be cleaned out, and today was the day.

I started at Walmart where I bought storage containers. It’s interesting how they size those bins – 8 quart, 28 quart, 50 quart. How do I know how many quarts of stuff I have? I chose two 50-quart containers but wisely put one back and added a couple of smaller ones for certain collections. That worked well.

It was an afternoon’s labor of love, a trip down a memory lane in which I was a participant, an observer, an influence. But the memories themselves – some happy, some bittersweet – belong to that little girl who grew up. KW


Chris said...

Mmmmm, I remember when that furniture was brand new, part of the most wonderful bedroom in the world! (And that was longer ago than 1975...) I think it's so special that you and Hallie both share memories of it.

Kathy said...

It was about 50 years ago. The furniture, "Fleurette" by Bassett, was part of my mother's remodel of the old Craftsman house. I saw it advertised in Seventeen magazine, and then we happened to find it at Self-Service Furniture in Spokane. I was surprised when Mother bought it. I was 13 or 14, and when you think of the passage of time, I didn't have many more years to live in that room. But the furniture was there for the next 25 years -- until Hallie was four and we moved to the Broadview house.

Leah said...

I agree, sorting someone else's belongings from a different era is easier than your own.

When cleaning out a closet or chest, my method is to empty the drawer first. I'll use the word closet from now on to simplify the story. Put the contents on the floor, bed, whatever. Then, I clean the closet. Next I decide what stays & what goes. When I have to hold something & decide if it's a keeper or not, the task is easier. The result is that I find things that I really don't want and especially will never use again. The result is a more organized closet. I allow myself some "sentimental" things that I will never use again, but just have to keep.

After I found myself "cleaning" and not removing anything from a closet I knew that I had to remove the contents to do it right.

My son had a nice oak bedroom set in the mid 60's that came from Sears, I believe. It was a modular group, like yours. A desk, dresser, bookcase, etc. The bed was a single. He took it with him when he left home. In time it was in the spare bedroom just like your set. Somehow I felt good that he still had it. Then a few years ago, he had a garage sale and told me that he put his bedroom set in the sale. I felt sad. He may have, too, but he realized that it would be better for another little boy.

Leah said...

A long time ago, containers had names like "bushel," "half bushel," "peck," etc. A bushel holds 8 gallons. A peck is 2 gallons. Isn't it strange that somewhere in the recent past, the names bushel & peck were dropped in favor of gallons.

Ask someone under 30 if they know the song "I love you a bushel & a peck." Not only will they not have heard the song, they might even wonder what a bushel or a peck is.

P.S. The song is from the musical "Guys & Dolls" which premiered on Broadway in 1950.

Kathy said...

You are so organized and systematic, Leah -- admirable traits. Since I was cleaning the drawers to storage, I didn't tarry long in decision making.

I have come to the same conclusion as Brian did. The furniture needs to be used and appreciated, and today I think I found it a good home. Not knowing the future, Hallie and I feel a little sad to let it go, but I'm also looking forward to having a room for my several interests.

Leah said...

That's why I'm called the Lone Arranger.

Yancey Warnock said...

Just watch a couple episodes of "Hoarders" and you will feel much better about this...I promise! Props to you to pay it homage and let it go. I so appreciate your connection with your past and the emotion attached to certain objects. It is odd how we often don't appreciate things fully until they no longer serve us. You are a wonderful storyteller - I think you should publish a book.

Kathy said...

Oh believe me! I can so relate to those hoarders. I learned the basics of hoarding at my mother's knee. Mike was also trained to save everything, so we have no balance. Mike and I have noted that the "picker" shows are also about hoarding. Of course, there's hoarding -- and then there's hoarding. For example, we don't have layers of garbage on the floor. We're just cluttered with stuff that might be useful in the future.

Leah -- It's best to be "lone" while arranging.