We have a closet in our front hall. I suppose it is supposed to be where we put the coats of our guests when they come over, but to do so would generally be a serious health hazard. At least, that was true until last Thursday.
This closet has old dress coats from when the girls were little, current family coats, and a lot of miscellaneous stuff, not the least of which is all of our non-Christmas wrapping supply. Every time I buy wrapping paper to wrap a gift, the leftovers are stowed in this closet. When we receive a gift in a gift bag, after extracting said gift, I pop the gift bag into the closet, and the tissue paper, which I fold and tuck into a box with my opened and half-used packages of new tissue paper. Especially pretty bows go in there, too, and nice baskets filled with raffia.
On Thursday, I cleaned out the closet. It was at the point where you didn't dare to open the door for fear of what would fall on you. Since I do tend to keep coats that we wear in there, this was quite inconvenient. The wrapping supplies needed to be taken in hand. When you can't use things, there is no use in saving them. The point of saving something is to someday be able to find it, access it, and use it.
I emptied the closet into the foyer. Wow. Let’s just say I did a lot of sneezing. I had no idea how much stuff I had, and how randomly it was stored. It seemed to multiply as it came out, until I drafted a very large, tattered gift bag to hold garbage, and then later a few very large boxes. I also did a lot of vacuuming. I had to change the vacuum bag mid-project and clean the vacuum filter. I was very productive.
Do you know what I found?! I found the original box where I used to store the things the kids made when they were tiny. I thought that was long gone. I know that if I go through that box I will find the original papers on which Shannon and DJ first wrote their names. Shannon was only two when she first wrote hers. We had read a story about somebody who needed to be able to write his name so he could get a library card. I closed the book and set it down, and Shannon leaped out of my lap, proclaiming, “I write my name!” She ran to her highchair, where she usually colored, and climbed up. I gave her a piece of paper and a crayon. I wrote her name in big, block letters, and she laboriously copied it over. I’m pretty sure the S and at least one of the N’s were backwards.
The thing I remember about David first writing his name is that he did it backwards. I am clueless about left and right, but people had been telling me he was left handed ever since he was about six months old. He grasped the pencil in his left hand and made a perfect, fairly small, capital D. Then he moved his hand to the left. I tried to guide him to move to the right, but he shook me off. He moved to the left and made a perfect I. Then left again, and a V. As I watched, he spelled out his name perfectly in small, neat capital letters, DAVID, and when he finished you never would have guessed that he had done it backwards. I found the box that has the paper in it that DJ did this on! How amazing is that?
I also found a box that is full of old notebooks and folders of my “creative writing” from long ago. Was I ever unorganized. But somehow, I don’t want to part with it. I have faith (maybe false faith) that someday I will organize it all and be inspired to write the novel. It’s just one unassuming box, not too big.
I went through loads and loads of gift wrap, threw away a lot, and organized the remainder into accessible containers of tissue paper, wrapping paper, bows and neatly folded gift bags. In order to do this, I had to go through numerous gift bags and empty them. Some held empty packages from toys. Some produced candy wrappers, buttons, Easter grass, old cards, and paperclips. There was a lot of dust. At one point I found something that indicated that I had not cleaned this closet for seven years (wish I could remember what it was—it’s a blur). Somebody should fire me from this housewife gig.
At the bottom of a particularly classy bag, I found a giant Symphony bar—you know, Hershey’s milk chocolate with almonds and toffee—my favorite. I remembered it, it was from Valentine’s Day, 2006. I was happy to find it. It was well wrapped—even had a couple layers of tissue around its own intact wrapper.
It’s just fine; I already ate a square. The best thing is—no competition. When I told the kids it was from 2-14-06, they said, “Eeewwwww.” It’s all mine, people, it’s all mine.