While digitizing and sorting photos and documents from our parents files, my brother and I came across everything from old receipts for pest control to photos from the turn of the 19th century. The sorting of junk is not without fun, as it does occasionally trigger a delightful memory or snicker. But how many half-used match books or swizzle sticks does someone need? If you’re a collector of anything, quiz yourself seriously about scraping your “collections” now, so as not to leave your children or grandchildren with the task of discarding your trash.
My son has a tendency to not give away or even throw away much of anything. I have a box in my office actually titled Papa’s Collection of Trash. They are bits and bobs, not of my trash, but items from when I used to say to him when he would collect something off the street that he found interesting — sometimes literally a piece of trash. Not wanting to re-litter, I would put these things in my coat pocket, telling him “Thanks, I’ll add that to my collection of trash.” One day I decided he should revisit this memory, so into a box some items went. Perhaps after my death, when he sorts things from my office, he will be able to toss those items. [Note to future grandkids: You’ve been warned.]
Then there are true gems. This graduation photo of our mother came to to her after her mother’s death. The photo was kept inside a bit of cardboard, torn from a folder which often accompanies such portraits. Printed on the outside of the fold is Portrait from The Preble Studio, apparently of Waterville, Maine. Inside is a letter in the form of a poem, dated 1953, written inside.