Today would have been a “big” birthday for my mom. She would have turned 70 years old today. When I was a kid, I used to think 70 was so old but not so much anymore. Last night, we all went to my dad’s and ordered Chinese food (her favorite.) Today, we will release yellow balloons from her bench.
My dad has a hard time with change. He hasn’t let any of us move her things. This includes clothing from her closet and drawers. He is also a “saver” and all of our bedrooms are still filled with lots of “stuff.” Not just his stuff, all of our stuff. My sister Kathi and I have the least there but both of us had a few things to get rid of. My brothers, although both live on their own, have their bedrooms almost exactly the way they were when they lived there.
My sister and her family have fallen on tough times financially and are going to be moving in with my dad for awhile, until they can get back on their feet. This means, the five bedroom home – the very “filled” five bedroom home – needed to be cleared out immediately.
We finally convinced my dad to let us clear out my mom’s closet. Promising we would donate all of her clothing, shoes and bags and then, move all of her formal dresses that are in Kathi’s and my closet, (there are a lot them,) into the closet in the master bedroom. The dresses were one thing he wasn’t ready to part with. Gowns from our weddings and special events they attended. We all understood and began purging.
My mom, who was a very simple woman, (she didn’t care about labels or names,) had SOOOOOO much in her closets, it filled two industrial sized blag trash bags and four boxes! That doesn’t even include all of the purses and bags, (Fendi, Gucci, Coach,) some of which I had never even seen since so many had never been used. Kathi and I each found a few that we kept for ourselves and we decided to try to sell the bags on a local swap page and the interest has been huge. I had no idea there was such demand for these “old, yet new” bags.
We gathered so many shoes and clothes, we needed to get them out of the house immediately because we couldn’t just leave those bags and boxes. We had divided them into bags with bag with “nearly new or brand new items” in some and one of “mom worn” items. She was notorious for spilling on herself so those went into a different bag to drop off at a collection box. There was so much collected, that DJ and I decided to take a ride and bring them, to the local church that was having a rummage sale and drop the other bag into the donation box.
When we got to the church, there was a sign on the doors saying, “No More Donations!” I didn’t want to put it all in a donation box because I have heard that a lot of that stuff just gets shredded rather than donated. I couldn’t imagine that! There were brand new clothes with tags on some of it! We decided to drive over to our own church where there are two collection boxes.
I let myself be naive enough to believe that the sign on saying it would go to Catholic Charities meant it just might be given to people rather than be shredded. DJ and I unloaded the heavy boxes and bags and started to stuff them into the bins. The bins were so full, we couldn’t even get one bagful in. We tore open one of the bags and tried to put things in one piece at a time. We were only able to get one bag emptied and that was it. Not another stitch of clothing was getting in there.
DJ and I joked that mom was trying to send us a message; either she didn’t want us giving away her things, or she wanted us to “share the wealth,” so off we headed to another donation box in town. Problem was that box was gone. We kept driving and got to the donation box I had thought of first for the one bag of clothing in the worst condition.
As we started emptying the bags and boxes – which were too big to fit, once again, we had to take them apart to throw the clothing in one piece at a time. The handle of the donation bin kept jamming. Jamming up, jamming down….we couldn’t help but laugh. It took much longer than expected but we got it all in.
I kept apologizing to mom as I threw things into the bin. DJ kept asking why. He didn’t think she’d have minded and he is probably right. She was probably laughing right along with us.