Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Give It, or Toss It..

...but I don't give a toss about it.

I'm not sentimental about belongings (though I have saved Danny's baby blanket and things of that sort) and as moving day closes in, I'm determined to unload as much as possible. I've donated so many items at the local thrift store I'm on a first-name basis with the employees.  Unfortunately, there are the items I cannot toss due to the power of guilt, and yet again the box is opened, sifted quickly through, then re-sealed for yet another move. By my count, I've been lugging a box of my mum's personal papers through five moves or so across more than twenty years.

I don't really feel comfortable reading letters from the 40's and 50's as I can't really be certain what I might find. I've got mum neatly categorised in memory, and I don't need reality screwing with that. I did find a number of rejection slips from various publications, and a couple acceptances. It is with a bit of pride to say her work was rejected by the Saturday Evening Post, but accepted by Collier's. I have no idea what was sent-the copies were not among her papers. I'm guessing it was illustration work. Anyway, the box gets stowed for yet another move, and Danny can deal with it someday. That's how guilt works.

It is somewhat remarkable how little I have in the way of knick-knacks. I keep china in my china cabinet, which I'm told is strange as they are really meant to hold figurines and such. A few things have survived over the years like small carved wooden bunnies I had as a child, and a squirting nickel which I handed down to Danny along with a plastic Easter egg with a squeaking chick purchased circa 1973 at Woolworths. Otherwise, I live a rather tchotchke-free life. I have books-that doesn't leave much room for much else.

I do have a few letters saved from friends now gone, but I doubt Danny will find anything too scandalous to read in those when I die. I've never submitted anything for publication to get a rejection letter, but Mr. ETB once made up an insane, over-the-top story and sent it to the New Yorker hoping to get an insulting rejection letter in return. It was so off the wall, I won't go into it here. The rejection letter came ( a relief because the New Yorker in the early 90's might have actually bitten) though without the hoped-for reaction. I have no idea if he saved it.

Other oddball things we found still in our possession:

-A bottle opener marked, "Fuller Brush Co" (Yes, we had a "Fuller Brush Man" in the neighbourhood)

-A pair of blue plastic scissors shaped like an elephant (ears are loops, trunk is the blade) my auntie bought me as a young child. These were the replacement pair, as my mother broke the first pair in a fit of rage because I wasn't living up to her expectations (or she'd had too many diet pills), and my auntie went out and replaced them because she was the lone, sane person in the family.

-A piece of the Berlin Wall encased in plastic as a paperweight sent to Mr. ETB by a friend living in  Germany at the time.

- Two cassette tapes by a band called, "Lubricated Goat." Those weren't mine.

-School papers from Grade Three where my response to "Describe the family in the story" on a test was, "They're insufferable." The teacher gave me a poor mark, and wrote, "Oh go on."  I had a few folders that *did* go on much in that vein, with me leaving clever answers such as, "How should I know, I didn't study", and " Pass." I suppose this would be an excellent opportunity to publicly apologise to my Grade Three teacher Mrs. Dilday whose name we also made several thoroughly inappropriate jokes about. If you taught elementary school in Skokie, Illinois in the early 70's and this sounds like it might be you, I'm so, so, so terribly sorry. I never imagined I'd be teaching Grade Three myself. So terribly sorry. I am.

-A photograph of myself with platinum blonde hair. Yeah, I don't know either.

-A year's worth of pristine issues of Harper's Bazaar from 1971 (the big oversized ones of old).  I still don't get the appeal of Ali McGraw. I mean, sure she looked good dying in that movie and all, but it wasn't like she was a great actor or anything. I swear, she was everywhere for about ten years.

Finally, the best find was a deteriorating paper bag from a long defunct fabric store containing several yards of extra fabric from a chair our housekeeper recovered for us forty years ago. This is great, as the matching footstool, and arms of the chair have worn through. If the fabric does not fall to shreds at the first unfolding, I'll be able to restore everything to 1970 glory (the chair was already an oddball Victorian piece (from the oddball Victorian aunts that lived together in a museum-like flat that gave rise to one of the best jokes my sister ever came up with: "What's the difference between Aunt Annie, and the Queen of England? One sleeps under a canopy, the other sleeps over a can of pee.") when she offered to fix it up for us.

Tomorrow is a holiday in the US which means Mr. ETB will be around to assign various move-related tasks to. I think it high time he learned to clean the oven!

Nearly over...I just keep reminding myself there's a patio, pool, and city water waiting for me on the flip side. And no flies. I am NEVER living next to cattle again.

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