It's amazing the things you find in a house that has been occupied by a single family for decades. Things seem to accumulate without anyone noticing, like coral on a reef or calcium buildup on a plumbing fixture. Before you know it, you're surrounded by stuff.
My mom has actually done an admirable job of purging things already. But we're finding some funny odds and ends lying around.
For example, why do we have this 45-year-old baby outfit, apparently never worn, with price tags still attached? I love how it's made of "100 percent virgin orlon acrylic." I'm not sure how acrylic can be virgin, but whatever. As Mom said, "It's probably hot as fire."
It's going to charity.
Of course we're finding lots of amazing things, too. Here, for example, is a photo of my great-great-great grandparents in front of their home in North Carolina. That's them in the middle -- the woman with the white apron and the man with the crutches. According to notes on the back of the picture by a family historian, the man, William Bullard, served in the Confederate Army from 1862 to 1865 as a lieutenant. This photo was taken around the turn of the century, and shortly after Bullard died in 1908, the house burned down. I guess those all-wood structures made of pine were probably tinderboxes.
Here's another fun one -- my grandmother's graduating class from Avon Park High School in Florida. Very Great Gatsby, isn't it? My grandmother is on the right in the headband.
Of course we're keeping the pictures, though we have a bazillion photos of me as a baby. Most of them all look the same -- me lying on a blanket, me sitting in a stroller. I guess when parents have a first child the impulse is just to keep snapping away. About 80 percent of those could be pitched. I like this one, though, of me in a car seat. Who can blame me for being tired, holding that head up all day?
When I was a kid I made this batik as an art project. I believe it was during a summer art camp for kids at the local university, though I can't really remember. The fate of the batik is undecided.
And then there's my matchbook collection. I'm mystified about what to do with these. I'd sort of like to keep them, because I made notes inside the cover of many books, recording who I was with and the date. For example, I went to the The Islander restaurant in Key West with my friends Kevin and Suzanne on Nov. 11, 1989. I don't remember a thing about it. (Do I need matchbooks from meals I don't even remember?)
But I'm pretty sure flying with matches is verboten these days, so I'd have to strip them out of the books, and I'm undecided about whether it's worth the effort. Maybe a picture should suffice.