Cleaning House
Bev Vines-Haines

  Cleaning out a parent’s home can be exhausting, even irritating.  In my mother’s case I wondered why she’d kept so much stuff over the years.  Drawers and closets packed with items no one cared about.  

I found her birth certificate in a box of papers.  It held rationing cards from World War II.  There were rent receipts and dozens of documents chronicling utility payments, grocery bills and home butchering paperwork.    

All of us kids were born at home but she’d carefully kept our birth certificates, shot records and other details.  I found my baby book.  Empty.  Not a single milestone had been documented.    

At the bottom of the box I found an envelope filled with ticket stubs from movie houses, a couple yellowed love notes, and even a deflated blue balloon.  I wondered what kind of event had prompted her to keep that balloon.   

I also found a stack of journals.  

My mother was born in 1921 and she’d journaled her dreams and goals as long as I could remember.  Pretty much every dream she’d ever had was destroyed by my father.  

She’d once been wildly excited to date him.  By the end, she hated him.  He spent their 60 year marriage convincing her she was fat, stupid and lucky to have him.  

It was sad to see her entire life packed into such a small cardboard box.  I kept it as a cautionary tale for my daughters.    

I hope they need a bigger box.   

First published: February 2019
© All rights reserved by the writer
Comments to the writer: