Since I started writing a journal column in 2014, I’ve cut out all the columns, glued them onto a sheet of paper, and stored them in 4-inch 3-ring binders. Some readers will know that I wrote a longer column for the Marquette Mining Journal and various other sites through something called Senior Wire of Denver. Now the time has come to throw out the filing cabinets because I have another dump of my things.
Some things are easily sold or given away, but who, I wondered, would take all the notebooks / binders? I couldn’t just throw them at an unsuspecting soul that would likely throw them into the nearest Burn Barrel. Then I thought of my friend, the librarian of Grand Marais, Roger Pilon. We have been friends for over 35 years. No one other than Rog would agree to receive hundreds of columns, no matter how carefully stored they were. A quick email confirmed his willingness to take them. I’ll drop them off when I’m in the Grand Marais next month.
Getting rid of things is not always easy, but I have been advised not to keep my old furniture and paintings because the person I wanted to take them to is not interested. “Sell them,” she said. “Book another trip to Ireland,” she said. “Stop worrying about me,” she said. So I follow his advice and start offering articles that I never thought I’d part with. The only problem is, dammit, who wants them?
Do I dream of someone willing to pay hundreds of dollars for an antique claw-legged chair or a Howard Miller grandfather clock? And what about the precious images that I have known all my life? Who wants them? Nothing I own is modern. My stuff is out of date. It’s like me – old and out of step with the new century. Most things today are made of glass or plastic or are driven by technology.
I can’t imagine anyone wanting an Edwin Douglas print of Jersey cows or a print titled “Little Princess at Work” that shows a beautiful little girl sewing. Today, girls do not need to learn household skills, nor do men need to know how to shoot an animal for food in winter. Over the past 20 years, we’ve come so far that it is hard for the old days to remember what it was like before the Internet and Meijer invaded.
Girls my age are starting to get rid of their stuff. I only have one chick and no little chicks but for women who do, it might be easier. Maybe there’s a young parent who would like a winding clock that no longer tells the time or a stack of scratched 35-rpm records. Vinyl is coming back, you know. Recently I’ve seen real albums, not CDs, in the music section of Walmart.
And what great-granddaughter wouldn’t love a moldy 1943 doll? What little boy wouldn’t swoon over Grandpa’s 1950s GI Joes collection? Surely someone would be delighted to be covered with a handmade rag quilt by an elderly relative they’ve never known. What about the compass that only points south or the chipped turkey dish? They are family heirlooms, not pieces of junk.
Guess I’ll leave the washer-extractor where it is, right next to the box of glass bottles from 60 years ago. I could tell you their location, but then you could stop on a stormy night and run away with all my priceless garbage.
To contact Sharon Kennedy, email her at [email protected]