ONE little triumph!

UPSwampAt last. For months, I’ve been sorting through the papers my mother left – everything from more than two hundred years worth of deeds to the family farm to old shopping lists.

And tonight, I’m finished. Some of it (*cough* deeds *cough*), I plan to keep. Most of it has been recycled. And I’m done. One piece of my life is organized.


9 responses to “ONE little triumph!

  1. Hooray, well done Sharon!

  2. Triumph – I hope not too sad. Turning out old letters can be painful, of course, but even the shopping lists can be rather poignant when you a) know the handwriting and b) remember eating/wearing/sitting on the stuff bought!

  3. There are some things you do need to keep. I have family history notes and records written in my in-laws hand writing, one is now deceased and the other has Alzheimer disease and so she is lost to us now. But those yellowing bits of paper will always be kept safe because they can never be replaced.

    • Yes – it’s sad to see things fade away. I’ve been finding old photos of people I can’t identify, and I wish there was someone I could ask. But my mom was the last survivor from her generation of the family, and over the last few years of her life she couldn’t have answered my questions. And asking her would only have upset her, because it would remind her how much she had forgotten.

  4. Oh, how did you decide what to “recycle”? I hate the thought of throwing away papers/things belonging to my parents . My mother is still alive and I hope she lives for many more years so I don’t have to make decisions…

    • Deciding what to recycle (as opposed to putting it in the trash) was easy – we can recycle any sort of paper that doesn’t have food remnants on it. So instead I’m going to describe how I decided what to get rid of.

      Old paid bills? No reason to keep those. Letters from my parents’ doctors reporting on exams and medical tests? No use to anybody at this point. Magazines? Generally not worth keeping. My mother cut thousands of recipes out of newspapers and magazines – I couldn’t test all of them if I tried two at every meal for the rest of my life. Out they went. Old letters and cards? I kept a few, more or less at random, but my mother seems to have kept every card they received for the last forty years or so – a huge pile, mostly from people I don’t know.

      Perfectly good cards my mom bought and never sent? Well, a woman at my church makes sure everyone in the congregation gets birthday cards; I gave the unused cards to her. I kept all the photos I found. I haven’t decided yet what to do with the receipts I found showing that, a hundred years ago, my newly-married grandparents were renting a house from my great-grandfather for a whole five dollars a month. It’s an odd little detail of family history – and it gives me some perspective on how expensive the treadle (non-electric) sewing machine my grandmother bought back then for twelve dollars, or two and a half months’ rent, really was – but now that I know all that, do I need to hang on to those old scraps of paper?

      Basically, I kept a lot of what has personal significance. I got rid of the “business” paperwork. And next I’m going through my own stuff and throwing a lot away so my kids aren’t faced with a huge job like this eventually.

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