Saturday, October 20, 2012

Purging, Pens, and Prophylactics

After moving Mom into a nursing home, I made a deal with Clint's son: Move into the house rent-free, and watch her stuff for me for a year, will you? I need to get my bearings. Do my own thing. Regroup.

I've been regrouping for 18 months now. There were a few false starts in which I assessed the situation, declared "Oh, Lord," and ran away, but I am finally starting to make some decisions about what will go where.

I'm setting the sentimental belongings aside to deal with when I'm ready. Mom's sewing machine and  cabinet, and Dad's roll-top desk, for instance. My God, the idea of getting rid of the twin beds Teri and I, and then our children, slept in—oh, it makes me want to lie down!

Easy does it then. I gauge carefully what I will sort, sell, or save. I cannot possibly keep it all.

I have gotten creative about how I can have my cake and eat it too. Dozens of photo albums are going to be carefully deconstructed, and scanned. I'll keep some of them, offer hundreds back to the subjects or their ancestors, and then gasp! throw the rest away.

I have bins full of old costume jewelry, clip-on earrings, and ugly brooches. I'm taking a beading class with a friend (Hi Nic!) to learn how to repurpose and rejuvenate it into newer, modern pieces.

 (Click to enlarge, and check out the Caveman cuff link at the top. Weird, huh?)

As for the rest of the random loot, I've decided to hold on to some of it by documenting it here. Photographing and writing about that which I have no space for, before I find a new home for it, be it friend, family, stranger, or junkyard.

Take, for instance, my Grandfather's pens. My Grandpa Stewart collected pens, thousands of them. I've written before, here, that I was lucky enough to inherit about 600 of them.

They're in a box. There they sit. I've carried that box from house to house, to house again, and taken up valuable closet space for more than 10 years. They don't work. They even kind of stink, now.

I found that box again today, while talking on the phone with Clint. I groaned when I opened the box, and declared that I would be, finally, throwing them away! I chatted while I picked through them, though, about why I'd kept them. And as we talked, I pulled out 2 that had "Mack's Trucking" printed on the side. My brother-in-law works there now, I'll save them for him. And, oh, that one is still kind of cool... I was still poking through them when we got off the phone, and I came across one this one:

What the... does this....I mean... these pens are at least 50 years old! Who had a can full of these on their desk? Here, have a free pen with your...what? Plywood purchase? Oil change? New savings account? 

A mystery!

The box of pens is back in the closet. I have a grand plan of someday arranging them more creatively than they are in the photo above, taking a photo, and making a poster to hang in my studio.

Then I will toss them.

I swear.

P.S. Yes, I do see that they spelled Prophylactic wrong. I didn't want you to think that I didn't notice that, since spelling is part of a what I do for a living. And, if you see any typos that I made here, please point them out in the comments or on Facebook, so that all of my colleagues can see them.