I didn’t live during The Great Depression, but I grew up hearing about it. My parents were born in 1929, and my maternal grandmother had four children in diapers during those lean years. Maybe that’s why I have such a hard time parting with things that I might need later, that might “come in handy,” or that might “be good for an art project.” On top of that, I tend to be sentimental and to have social consciousness about the environment and over-flowing landfills, so I keep way too much stuff.
Perhaps unfortunately, I’ve passed down the gene. Last weekend, my son took a deep breath and donated to Goodwill a trailer load of things he’s kept for years. Later in the week, he bought one of his own shirts back. I laughed at him, but I totally understood.
I still have my baby clothes that my grandmothers sewed, as well as most of my son’s baby wardrobe. I finally thinned out maternity clothes, allowing myself to keep only one dress “for the memories.” I inherited my grandmother’s bathrobes and nightgowns, and even have one of the robes that my great-grandmother delivered to those in need while volunteering with a relief program during the Depression.
And then there are the dishes: one great-grandmother’s mixing bowl and biscuit pan, and the other’s crystal stemware. I hold dear the McCoy pottery that was Aunt Evelyn’s and the Roseville vases that were Mama’s, and remember exactly where each piece was in their houses when they were still here.
With every drawer and cabinet and closet full, something had to be done.
The ad in the paper read, “Yard Sale Saturday 7 a.m.: Books, clothes, toys, dishes, and collectibles.” Though none of the precious objects mentioned above went in the sale, we did watch friends and strangers walk away with pieces of our pasts. I hope those people make their own memories with their new treasures.
Marian Carcache welcomes
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