Mama was anything but; she liked everything clean and neat and uncluttered. She wasn’t sentimental, and that’s a trait shared by all pack rats.
For example, if we gave her a beautiful poinsettia at Christmas, she would always look less than pleased. Before our visit was over she would say, “Why don’t one of you girls take that home with you? It sure is pretty, but you all have more room at your house.”
Daddy was the same way. He would give us back his Christmas gift before we left, saying “Here, sugar, why don’t you just keep this?”
Well, I am a sad legacy for them. After years of denial, I finally have found the courage to say, “Yeah, I’m a pack rat.”
Most people look down on us and criticize. But who do they turn to when an obsolete item is needed in a hurry? One time a friend wanted an old Chattanooga Valley High School football program. She needed an outdated one in particular.
She told me, “I knew if anybody in the whole world had one it would be you.”
She knew, of course, that I usually have two of everything.
Pack rats are actually organized people. It may take a little while to find something, but since the item never left the premises, it will eventually turn up. Every great while I go into a frenzy of cleaning out. This usually occurs when I have to take a Steripred dose pack. Most often my frenzy of cleaning just means re-organizing all my junk.
I now have see-through containers, and that helps in locating an item. My grandmother had a motto: “Save something for seven years, and you’ll need it again.”
She was right on the money, because as soon as I decide to discard an old relic, I end up needing it the very next day.
I think it will all work out if I can just buy a few more clear containers and maybe some labeling stickers.
Now where is that 1981 Newsweek that I saw a few days ago?
Kaye Ella Steadman lives in Chickamauga. She is a storyteller, published writer and author of the book “The Girl in the Mirror.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Facebook.