Sunday, July 8, 2018

Baby with the Bathwater

I know by now I have mentioned my dear little grandmothers SO many times. It seems the world over has been blessed with an absolute outpouring of perfect grandmothers, each 100 percent what their grandchildren need to cope with the world they inherited.

My Gramma Minnie, 5 foot nothin', had so many accurate and perfectly timed sayings to offer at each situation. I have never heard many of them from anyone else, but others are fairly popular. So, in the
self-serving spirit of keeping it real and to scare Miss Merry to pieces, I will offer today's lesson in de-cluttering. "DON'T THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATH WATER."

Open with a  frantic scene of my son and me vs. an asinine amount of stupid clutter. I classify clutter into understandable, a bit over dramatic, and just plain stupid. My parents, though perfect to my eyes, had collected a little lot too much of each! Understandable: clippings of favorite artists since there was no YouTube, Google, or Wikipedia to find information. Recipes. Instruction books. An extra coffee pot as a back-up.... and so forth. Over-Dramtic: A Gourd that was four foot long from an Uncle's garden in Indiana.(The uncle died in 1956!) Little painted swatches from each room in the house through three transitions of wallpaper samples. Recipes. A dog collar, cat toy, or bird Ferris wheel from more than one beloved pet now gone past Rainbow Bridge... And Stupid: Washed but disposable cutlery, plastic cups, turkey roasters. A bag of unusual power cords minus their respective waffle irons, mixers, coffee pots or skillets. Recipes. Little envelopes of saved seeds from gardens marked by cryptic, pencil-scribbled codes such as "SUM72/NGAR/tpcrp/STUBBY" Laugh out Loud, I understand that to be green beans called top crop we planted in 1972's north part of the garden that turned out to be short, little squatty beans...  (!) For the love of God, Mom! I didn't know I could read and translate Hoardish... 

So, you see that recipes make all three lists because we love cooking in this family and relate in that love language to so many precious people, family, places visited, etc...  So enter wild, disgusted, frantic, drowning, over-dramatic, radical moi...  One night as we forged into a stash unseen by human eye in at least 30 years, I just pitched. I created an auction box filled with (gasp) cookbooks that seemed super-ratty and non-descript...  about 15 of them...  plus other junk that has passed the get-rid-of-it test and needs to skedaddle. Then my auction man failed me. He promised to come, missed his deadline, re promised and missed, really promised and threw out his back...  I couldn't take the temptations in the wilderness, so I re-sorted and looked again through the boxes...

Yes, that is a cat on a hope chest on a freezer
 in a bedroom created from a dining room. 
Ya don't see that every day!

Oh, my goodness, There in the middle of three meat grinders and about seven cookie shooters was that stash of cookbooks. I mean double ugly. Then (insert Hallelujah Chorus here) I opened a couple to stumble upon three or four with my Gramma Minnie's wonderful, beloved, treasured handwriting. She has every possible blank space penciled and penned with the very best family legendary recipes ---smack dab next to a good bug remedy for worms in the corn patch. And yes, it is clear which is which! I would never have missed or pined for these books  because I didn't know they existed...  but yes, they are saved and really, really special. I have snapped just a smidgen of them for you to see... (I realize to the naked eye these are still ugly fugly....  but "beauty is in the eye of the beholder.")

So yes...  When it comes to frustrated de-cluttering, I give myself a D+...  Bathwater, you need to go, but Baby, you need to stay and let me bake "Aunt Letha's Applesauce Cake" and "My Favorite Sugar Cookies"  a few more times. And who knows, I may need to concoct a cleaner or bug bomb at any moment.  

Whimsy and Hugs!


Miss Merry said...

Gayle - I am so thrilled for you that you resorted and discovered these treasures! So wonderful and such a great surprise.

I have a sadder story. I found a similar cookbook when I was sorting boxes at my dad's condo. There was a very plain hardcover black cookbook and when I looked inside there were recipes handwritten on the blank pages by his mother who was called Mamie. She died the same year that I was born.

I could have sworn I repacked this box of cookbooks (you know, about 50 or so of varying goofiness and sixties charm) I moved all these boxes to a newly drywalled spot in my house which still hasn't become my utility room. I have been sorting these boxes over and over into smaller boxes and still have not come across the cookbook. What happened to that box? Why didn't I pull that one out at the time and bring it home and put it somewhere safe? I have absolutely nothing after that grandmother and it would have not only meant so much to me, but to my older cousins that do have memories of her and worse, memories of some of her special dishes.

I keep thinking maybe someday it will float to the surface again, but the pile has gotten much smaller and I have been through it all a few times now.

So happy that you found yours!

Gayla said...

I hope yours surfaces, too, Miss Merry. It always could... things get back to the ones who love them... Could another family member have it?