Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 21, 2013

Getting it out in the open

Cathie Shaffer
The Independent

ASHLAND — My house has a little storage space built into the wall where my upstairs steps make a turn. The landing there is large enough to hold a treadle sewing machine, used now only for decorative purposes, with plenty of room to maneuver the steps even with a basket of clothes.

Since the place is a bungalow and has no attic, that space — which we call the hidey-hole — kinda serves the same purpose. And like many attics, the hidey-hole needs cleaned out.

I realized that after a young visitor asked me what the door was for and I explained. When he followed up with “What’s in there?”I was at a loss.

I can’t remember.

My advancing age has nothing to do with my ability to recall the contents of the hidey-hole. It’s just been so long since I put anything in or took anything out that I simply don’t know what’s there.

So among my projects for the next few days is opening the door and pulling whatever’s inside back out. Since I suspect a fair portion will be things the kids wanted to keep, I’m going to invite them to the great reveal.

Quite honestly, I don’t think about the hidey-hole much. The hinges on the door gave way a year or two ago and, not being a really handyman kind of person, I just shoved the sewing machine against it to keep the door from falling off.

I do remember a Sunday afternoon when my son tried to fix the door but we didn’t have the right screws or something and that was as far as the repair went. After all, I reasoned, it wasn’t going to kill me to push the old Singer away and grab the door when it fell.

Besides, I already have so much stuff stored in so many other places, from the basement shelves to my metal shed in the back yard. The dining room holds two hutches for dishes, decorative items and odds and ends and the cedar chest that doubles as a coffee table in the living room is the repository for everything from my wedding gown to family photo albums.

The cedar chest gets opened once or twice a year, usually when one of the grandkids wants to look at the albums. They’ll look at the saved baby clothes and tiny shoes as well, but they really want to look through old pictures of their mom and make fun of her hair and clothes from way back when.

I suspect they’ll also want to be present for the opening of the hidey-hole. A search by one through her mom’s old closet for 1980s clothes brought them all into the bedroom to lay across the bed and giggle. Hitting the stash of their uncle’s high school and college stuff was the highlight, though, when they uncovered a portable manual typewriter. That relic from a different time kept them entertained for hours since the ribbon still had a little ink left on it.

I’m sure there are no typewriters or prom dresses in the hidey-hole, although I think there’s a school jacket from 1990-something.

I’m also relatively sure what the reaction from this youngest generation will be as the contents of the hidey-hole are revealed. Some things they may allow my children and me to keep. But I suspect this phrase will be used often as the hidey-hole empties:

“Hey, that’s really old! Let’s sell it on e-Bay.”

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net