The move wasn’t far, just a few miles down the road to a two-story house framed in pretty greenery and with a little back patio all laid out in brick. It would be great, I thought. Exciting, I exclaimed. Wonderful, I said. Until, that is, I realized that moving into our new home meant moving out of the old one ... with all of our stuff. Lots of stuff. Heavy stuff. Did I mention lots of stuff?
If there is one thing that I have learned from my moving experience it is that I very well may be two bags of old mail and one tube of wrapping paper away from being featured on an episode of “Hoarders.” Not the rotten-food-in-the-freezer-rats-in-the-walls-pizza-boxes-and-creepy-doll-heads-piled- on-the-bed kind of hoarder. Just a friendly, afraid-to-throw-away-mail-and-not-waste-wrapping-paper kind of gal.
Nothing wrong with that.
I even thought some of my wrapping paper might have been vintage.
“It is not vintage, it’s just old,” my friend said when I described its pattern of tiny kittens playing on a yellow background and revealed my plans to make big bucks putting it up for sale on eBay. “I bet the background isn’t even yellow ... it’s yellowed.”
She was just jealous, I thought, and went back that night to give it a closer look. OK, so maybe it was a little yellowed. But the kittens were cute ... definitely looked like something from the 1950s. Had I bought it at an antique store? An estate sale? Had I just forgotten? Wait ... what is that? A clue to its authenticity? I unrolled a bit of the paper ... careful ... careful ... it’s fragile ... and there it was. Proof.
A Dollar General sticker. $2.99. Sigh. Vintage kittens my foot.
I tossed it, along with a dozen quarter or less rolls of other wrinkled and equally depressed rolls of wrapping paper cowering in the back of the hall closet. I also got rid of several old throw pillows that were in various forms of distress, ranging from gaping holes from which spilled masses of stuffing, unidentifiable and possibly toxic stains, and some made of fabrics in colors not seen in homes since “The Brady Bunch” era.
There was a time when I would have insisted on keeping them all, sure that I would resuscitate them and re-introduce them to the sofa and den as contributing members of pillow society. But in the back of the closet they lived for years, most likely trading war stories with the cracked lamp and footstool with the missing leg and wondering when I would come rescue them.
I never did.
I should feel bad, I suppose ... but I don’t. The thought of moving my misfit things to a new house made my stomach hurt. That, and the fact that I was afraid my husband would disown me.
I don’t think he believed me when I tried to tell him they were antiques.
“It looks like junk to me,” he said. I couldn’t argue with him.
So I took my mementos — things that reminded me of good times; my collectibles, like my snow globes and books and photos; my antiques, like my father’s desk, and a few other things that we can’t live without — and I donated and threw the rest of it out. We’ve simplified — kind of — and it feels good.
But just in case ... I did bring three rolls of wrapping paper with me. A girl can’t give everything up all at once.
And besides, I think it may be vintage ...
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.