Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

August 27, 2013

Learning a lesson, making a change

ASHLAND — I spent last Friday and Saturday at my mother’s house for the very last time. That was the weekend set for the auction of the big house and its contents, two bittersweet days.

In my trips up to help sort and clean out those many rooms, I brought home personal items and picked a few pieces of furniture that sit in a storage unit awaiting their trip down to my house here. In fact, I thought the house was starting to look a little bare after we family members had made our choices.

I do remember making the comment that I wondered if they’d really need two days to sell what we left.

Oh, my heavens, how I underestimated what my mother had collected in her lifetime.

The auctioneers separated the various items by type onto flat farm wagons for the sale. One entire wagon contained bolts of material; the stack was probably four feet high.

Books filled another wagon. The sad thing is that we’d already picked through and taken what we wanted and there were still that many left.

I bought a couple of items that I hadn’t realized Mother still had, like a wooden doll cradle my late uncle had made. That became my gift to my 91-year-old aunt who had asked me Friday if it had been sold. When I spotted it on Saturday, I bid a buck and it was mine.

I also bid on Christmas items for a friend of mine who decorates numerous trees each year. Unfortunately, in order to get what I wanted I ended up with boxes of stuff I didn’t particularly need.

One of those boxes turned out to the troll dolls we had as kids. I gifted my foster granddaughter with those and she seemed to be as delighted with them as we were as teenage girls.

Another box had odds and ends that was a truly odd combination. I wound up with an ice cream spade, a hand gardening rake, various figurines, a pocket knife and some wooden thing with holes and screws that nobody seems to be able to identify.

Sitting on the concrete steps of the house, watching Mother’s beloved glassware sell, I realized that this could easily be the scene in my front yard in 20 years if I don’t change my ways.

Now I’m not as bad as my mom was. I don’t manufacture a reason to keep all sorts of things simply because I can’t bring myself to throw them away. But I do know it’s time for a purge.

I’ve enlisted the help of my grandgirl who lives with me. We’re going to take it one room at a time and simply do it. Of course, being me, I have a plan.

My daughter-in-law’s having a yard sale this weekend. I’m loading up Big Blue with as much as the car will hold and taking it down there with everything priced low, low, low.

Part of the plan is to make room for the furniture that was my mother’s. I already know where each piece will go, including furnishing the bedroom that’s about to become my library.

The other part of the plan is to make sure that when I’ve gone to my heavenly reward, I won’t hear my kids saying, “Can you believe the amount of junk our mother held onto?” like my sister and I have said.

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