Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Sorting Hat was needed

Not for me but for all the papers I found in the tub labeled "family stuff" in the garage. I filled it full of things I didn't want to see after Mom died. Her scrapbook from high school filled with valentines, gift cards, notes, graduation invitations. Letters from my brother (died in 1961) who was apparently dating three girls - one in Mississippi, one in San Diego, and one somewhere North of San Diego - while he was stationed there with the Navy...and letters asking Mom for money. Three marriage licenses for Mom and two divorce proceedings. Marriage licenses for others in the family, birth notices - birth certificates, baby books for me and my brother, records from the farm. Mom's graduation certificate from junior high school - bound in the softest purple suede.

Letters from my brother's father to Mom, her parents, my Dad, and also letters this guy's parents to Mom. From the tone of the letters, I suspect that Mom met David's father when he was buying whiskey from her Dad, Mike, my grandfather.

WW2 documents and letters and Dad's big book of the 24th Construction Battalion. Rationing stuff.

Lots of receipts, letters from grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, former landlady,

The trash bag got fuller and fuller. My brother is dead and so are his son and wife. I have no children. My nearest relative is a cousin in Mississippi, and I'm sending him some of the WW2 stuff - especially a mushy letter from Dad to Mom when she was in high school and another after they were married. I think he'll get a kick of that - Mom was kind of neutered by Dad's alcoholism. But, I'm keeping the letter from Mabel to my Dad where she refused to marry him because he'd never loved anybody but Lucy (my Mom). And, I kept one page of a letter where my brother wrote about how much he loved me.

I save birth announcements to send to those who were born - perhaps they don't have them. I'll send the graduation announcements to some museum in Mississippi. A few photographs without identification went into the trash.

But, I stuffed all the letters that I'd written to Mom over the years back into the box. I'm not sure I want to know that I begged for money just like my brother or what stunts I was up to when. If I were famous, these letters would bring lots of money because I was always deviously honest with Mom. She could read between the lines and so could anyone else.

My Dad helped build the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and one letter dealt with the men refusing to work. There's a picture of him drinking his better with his arm around a cute Cuban woman. So much for the letters he wrote begging Mom to come back to him and promising faithfulness. Even a letter from a woman he met in the South Pacific who invited him to come back there.

I got cold as darkness suddenly came; so I threw the rest of the stuff back in the tub for another day. More later.

6 comments:

PseudoPiskie said...

Our mom didn't have a sentimental bone except for photos. She threw out all the stuff I didn't have with me. She destroyed my bro's baseball cards and comics. In a way you are lucky. But I'm glad I don't have to go thru similar debris. Hugs.

Lindy said...

I'll have houses of stuff like that to go through because I know my mother won't do it before she dies. I'm not even going to look at it.

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Saint Pat said...

My mother was like Pseudo's. She didn't hang onto anything much but photos. She inherited a lot of household stuff from her aunt and mother that she just threw away as old junk. I was just a kid then; now I realize that some of that stuff would fetch a pretty penny from collectors now. I think it brought back unpleasant memories for my mother from her childhood. I'm the opposite - I can't bear to toss things. So I still have my dead brother's vaccination record from his time in the Navy.

Lindy said...

You haven't blogged in awhile. I keep checking.

You look fetching in your blue hat, btw.

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