Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Finding the unexpected

December 17, 2019

Settling my stepfather's estate and subsequently cleaning out my mother's house has been a bittersweet experience. The parts of it that were trips down memory lane were good. The fact my stepfather was a hoarder, not so special. 

Finding some of my father's personal belongings hidden away in odd places set me back a bit. Why did my mother feel the need to hide them? They were in old boxes, beneath even older boxes, and I almost tossed them out without looking inside. After my mother remarried, she refused to talk about my father, stating she didn't want to "hurt Jack's feelings." 

What? Jack knew she was a widow. He knew she got me somehow and it wasn't through immaculate conception. Nope. Never understood that. 

I brought a lot of plastic bins to my house so I could sort the contents at my leisure. One of those bins contained a bag of old stamps. It was one of those "what the hell" moments when I examined the contents. My mother must have been saving these old stamps all her life. There are Horatio Alger, Jack London, International Peace Garden, Thomas Payne, Rachel Carson, Root of Democracy, Love of Liberty (a 1932 postmark), and many, many more.  I've no idea what to do with them, but I have no plans to discard the stamps. 

So now I have three non-writing projects to organize: old pictures, old coins, and old stamps. I'm not sure I'm actually going to have the time to retire. 

**UPDATE February 23, 2020**

Just a brief update on the stamps. I connected with someone who is a true stamp collector and discussed the bag full of stamps. All of them are postmarked and aside from the story they tell of the times we live in are of no monetary value. The gentleman I spoke with didn't even make an offer on them - a big clue to their true value. If a long-time collector doesn't want them... I think I'll keep the baggie for a while, though. Maybe try and figure out why my mother kept them. Maybe it was just for the connection to her friends who sent the cards and letters. Maybe for me it's just for the connection to the younger version of my mom. 

**UPDATE March 10, 2020**

The old coins turned out to be just loose coins that they apparently hadn't rolled yet. Sorting through them and rolling them kept my hands busy during yesterday's NASCAR race. I'll cash them in to pay the guy who mows the grass at my mother's house. It's almost time for that expensive to begin again. 

KC Kendricks

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