Swallowed Up by a Sea of Childhood Treasures

I remember being about 10 years old at my grandma’s house. There was an older lady who lived up the hill from my grandma whom my cousin and I would go visit from time to time. She lived in an old farmhouse all by herself and she was a hoarder. I had only stepped into her house once and at that time you could really only walk a few inches before being roadblocked by a huge stack of newspapers and a tower of milk jugs. Like I said, I was only 10 years old but even I knew this was beyond any mess I had ever seen.

Even though she wasn’t a housekeeper she was a very nice lady and strangely enough on one particular day I was visiting she took me with her to shop for a trailer to put on her land because she could no longer get into her house. Afterwards she took me to the local A&W stand for a hotdog and root beer and it was quite a lovely afternoon.

I often think of that dear old lady as I watch my own house filling up. I don’t save newspapers or milk jugs and you can usually find a path through our house, but the amount of stuff I save for my children is slowly engulfing our house. Someday I fully expect to be swallowed up by a sea of artwork, favorite toys and beloved baby clothes. If we had a big enough property I might actually consider buying a trailer to put in our yard to store it all and really that is just insane.

Instead of parting with all of this childhood nostalgia I just continue to add to it and with that comes more storage containers for it all. Our house is filled with tons of antique trunks and boxes holding all of these treasures and this past weekend I had to make one more:

The trunk I made this weekend for my daughter's treasures

The trunk I made this weekend for my daughter’s treasures

I also made a box for one of my daughter’s friends who is having a birthday this week. I figure we can’t be the only ones who need storage containers:


A box I made for my daughter’s friend

And as I sat working on that trunk to hold more of my daughter’s treasures I pondered our whole storage problem and how we could have accumulated so much stuff and how many more years I have left in their childhoods to grow their collections. It’s really quite mind-boggling.

Even though I realize this problem; it apparently never truly sinks in because the very next day this is what I had my children do:

My kids painting huge canvases outside

My kids painting huge canvases outside

Someday, I will be that lady taking a visiting child to shop for a trailer with me because I can no longer walk through my own home. Afterwards I will take them for a hot dog and root beer and it will be quite a lovely afternoon.

Rags to Riches

One of our next door neighbors is a sweet, eccentric 80 year old widowed lady. Her children and grandchildren are all grown and visit her on Sundays. The rest of the week she goes to rummage sales, senior dances and quilting fairs. She bakes bread in large quantities every two weeks. We are gifted one of these loaves along with three small loaves; one for each of my kids. I make grilled cheese sandwiches out of this amazing bread. The kid’s sandwiches are about the size of a 50 cent piece when I use their loaves.

Her house can best be described as somewhere between a museum and the next entry for the show Hoarders. There is so much to look at and see. Some rooms are so packed that there is only a slight path through them. She used to have a lot of cats poking their heads out from behind boxes and scurrying around. Now there is only one. I’m not sure where the rest went.

She has always been very good to the kids. She has made a quilt for each one when they were born. On our 7 year old Iris’s first birthday she gave her an old, child-size rocking chair that she covered in stickers and magazine cut outs and stenciled her name on it.

Every spring, my five year old son, Bency brings her bouquets of dandelions. No matter how many times he rings her doorbell and makes his delivery during the week, she always gives him a hug and acts surprised.

Every birthday and Christmas she has brought gifts over for the kids consisting of coloring books, farm animal sets, mittens, and sand toys. This past Christmas, she was temporarily immobile due to a back problem. Her son brought over plastic bags for each of the kids and said they were from his mom. The kids were so excited! They opened their bags and found a used white stuffed bear, 3 old dolls, a boy’s hat from the ‘80’s, an old Mexican doll blanket and one fun size Baby Ruth. The kids squealed with delight and rolled around on the floor like they just won the lottery! My husband and I both eyed each other and then looked under our Christmas tree filled with a multitude of wrapped gifts. We don’t go overboard at Christmas but we don’t exactly buy dolls with non-working rolling eyes either. The kids happily went off to play with their new treasures.


Christmas gifts from the neighbor


The other day the kids walked over to our neighbor’s house for a visit. They said they missed her because they haven’t seen her for a few weeks. She welcomed them in and they stayed and chatted for about an hour. They both came home with their arms full. Bency had a coloring book that was only slightly used and a Christmas stuffed bear whose paw said 2005. Someone had taken an ink pen and colored around the eyes and nose. Bency proudly said he was going to name him Santa Bear. Iris had a Valentine Devil stuffed bear and a gold chain I.D. bracelet that said “Kelli” on the name plate. She asked me today to put it in her special drawer reserved only for her best bracelets. Up until today, this drawer has held 3 bracelets from her Papa and 2 from her cousin Jared.


Gifts they received in July


Children don’t require a lot of money spent on them. They need someone who sits and listens to them, gives them hugs, makes them feel special by making them “tiny-sized loaves of bread” and perhaps a few token gifts with non-working rolling eyes!


Iris’s gift she received: I.D. bracelet with the name “Kelli” on it