Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mystery Boxes - Cleaning Out the Attic

Margot Sullivan is a part-time reader's advisory and reference librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column as published in the November 6, 2014 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Years ago we had a pull down staircase constructed in order to easily access the attic. How nice this addition allowed us to store items for “safe” keeping out of sight and also out of mind. I knew there were some extra dining chairs, a suitcase, and some Christmas decorations but what else I wondered? I stood at the top of the stairs and looked at the poorly labeled boxes.

As I brought items downstairs and opened the boxes my son’s young years flashed before my eyes. The thousands of pieces of Legos were magic for him and his Dad as they created towers and buildings and bridges and spaceships, Now those Legos are in my son’s garage ready for his two young children. Looking at the current Lego merchandise I am sure his kids are going to want many more Legos which are more creative than ever. The Star Wars action figures might be worth something if he hadn’t lost a sword or a hat but the original carrying case has them all lined up. The Star Wars space stations have already moved to his home for his children.

We laugh now at all the baseball cards carefully stored away in special notebooks. These baseball cards were going to make my son wealthy. Wade Boggs, Jose Canseco, Ricky Henderson, Dwight Gooden….. were among his many favorites. I remember him actively climbing over a back fence at Fenway to get an autograph.

I decided he must have loved high school as the boxes FILLED with loose papers from his senior year are labeled “ DO NOT THROW AWAY – IMPORTANT”. In an email he said to me “Mom just pick out a few representative papers so I can show my children”. That was a trip through nostalgia- European History, Creative Writing, History of Art, French, and Biology and a few math papers. The recycling bin for that week was loaded! I forgot completely that we had put the sports and academic trophies in a paper bag and then a plastic bag. I took them out and relived some of the fun CYO basketball and summer baseball tournaments.

Now we go to his college years! A heavy box marked Rolling Stone and Hullabaloo contained copies of “Rolling Stone” and “Spin” which he did not want Mark was the Arcade (music) editor of the Tulane Hullabaloo – loved the late nights when issue went to press and loved traveling to Dallas and Atlanta for college newspaper conferences. Sooooooo “Save the Hullabaloos, Mom”. Another box marked books contained a wide variety of titles best sellers of ages ago. The most interesting paperbacks were very old “MAD” editions – with musty yellowed pages. “What Me Worry?” as Alfred E. Neumann would say!

I wouldn’t say that I was actually decluttering but I did find some books that had some advice about attics and organizing “stuff” – what to keep and what not to keep. Mary Lambert’s “Living with Less” 648.5 Lambert; 10,001 Ways to Declutter Your Home on a Small Budget by Ed Morrow (648.5) and ”Throw Out Fifty Things Clear the Clutter Find Your Life by Gail Blanke (648 Blanke) provided some help. The book “Mint Condition How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession” by Dave Jamieson (769.357) was interesting!

The attic is almost empty but I have wonderful memories of those years.