Today, my sister Kathi and I found ourselves with a few hours to spare. We decided to go up to my parent’s house and go through some of mom’s things. My dad was okay with it as long as we promised to not do anything with her formal gowns and dresses. We agreed and the two of us met there and spent a few hours going through one of her closets. For those of you who did not know my mom, she was a large sized woman – she called herself “plus sized.” We packed up several bags filled with clothing that we are going to donate to the veterans. We packed another that I dropped of at a local church that is collecting for the victims of the storm in the Philippines – that one included bedding. There are still two more bags of clothing that still has tags on them! I am in the process of finding a charitable organization that will take new clothing for larger sized women. There are even two bags of purses and totes!
What is so surprising to me is that my mom was far from a “fashionista.” She wore the same type thing all of the time. She liked simple, cotton clothing with an elastic waistband. Her last few years, she had so much trouble breathing, even getting dressed would be a struggle for her. So finding all of these clothes, many that were never worn was a bit ironic. Even more ironic though, is that for someone who had very little fashion sense, this was only the first of several closets we need to go through.
Tonight, we met back at their house to have dinner with my dad. This time, we took out what I thought was her jewelry drawer. I brought it downstairs and Kathi, my brother Chip and my dad and I, all went through it. It turned out to not be her jewelry drawer at all, but instead more like a memory drawer! We found many of our old report cards, including mine from first grade from the school that I teach at now! I found a favorite picture that my mom’s good friend Linda took of me when I was about ten. Mom had saved it in that drawer. I guess it was a favorite of hers too. There were many pictures in that drawer, but it turns out that isn’t even the “photo drawer” since we found another with hundreds more. That drawer will have to wait for another time. There were books about exercising and a very old copy of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care book. All of our birth certificates were there as were our graduation announcements and First Holy Communion certificates. She saved everything!!
My dad let us each have what was ours and then we took out another drawer we thought was her jewelry drawer. This had some, including a ring that Dave and I had given her before we were even married. My dad let me keep that one. We haven’t found her “good stuff” yet. More interesting though in this drawer were all of the items she had saved from her own parents and her dear Aunt, (who we called Nana.) We found an autograph type book that was her mom’s and each of the entries in it was dated 1925! The pages were delicate and falling apart but they were fun to read. there was a bag filled with things from her dad – he died when I was about ten, and I don’t really remember him well. It had his work ID, some other types of certificates, pins and awards in it. We actually gasped when we found a picture – it looked more like a mass card – with John F Kennedy on it. How odd that we found this almost 50 years to the date of his death!?! Dad let me borrow it to scan it and see if we can preserve it, as it is falling apart. I am not sure how my grandfather got the card. It is definitely not from a newspaper, you can tell by the feel of the paper. It feels like an actual mass card. I wish there was someone who could tell us how he got it or why he kept it.
Next week, we are going to go back and finish the second drawer. It got too late and with absolutely everything bringing up a new memory, it took much longer than expected. As so many things are when we talk about mom, this was bittersweet, but it brought back so many happy memories. I cannot wait to see what we find next week!!