Getting to know you…

Do you remember the song with the words… ‘Getting to know you, getting to know all about you’? As I clean out my mom’s house that tune constantly runs through my head. You don’t really know a person until you rummage through all of their personal belongings… no matter who they are.

First, let me start by saying only a daughter (or other female) should clean out another woman’s dresser. Especially the underwear drawer! For heavens sakes… how many bras does one person need? Being a product of the depression era, my mom saved everything that ever came in the door… and I do mean everything. I didn’t count them, but I promise you I must have pulled out close to 100 bras from 3 dresser drawers! Coming from a woman who told me to… and I quote… “Just go without one” when my bra strap kept peeking out of my formal gown. ACK! MOTHER! I was sooooo embarrassed at the thought! Currently I only own 5 bras… How about you?

I understand the mentality of the older generation’s obsession with saving things… because you never know when you might need it again. Zip lock baggies get rinsed and reused, plastic food containers topple out of every cabinet, canned goods not only in the kitchen, but hall closet and basement as well. Enough paper gift bags folded inside each other to last three lifetimes, gift wrap tubes stand at attention in a tall box in a closet. Ribbon from every present ever given is rolled up and stored to be used again… even the gift tags from years of Christmas gifts. I get it. A single woman living in a three bedroom ranch with an unfinished attic and basement which runs the length of the house has plenty of space to hoard things… but hundreds of empty tubes of Fix-O-Dent? Really? I am stumped to think of a reason to save those.

The empty tubes are every where! I have found Zip Lock bags in dresser drawers with about 10 tubes neatly tucked inside each bag. A bedside table held a few dozen more… along with her desk drawers. In the living room she squirreled them away in the end tables, and in the dining room I found them in the china cabinet. I have nightmares of being smothered by empty Fix-O-Dent tubes… (just kidding). My mind is running wild trying to figure out what she was thinking.

Mom was persnickety about her dentures. When ever she was hospitalized, needed surgery, or had an exploratory procedure I was in charge of her dentures. My marching orders were to hold on to them in a special bag, and make sure I was the very first visitor in the recovery room to see her so she could put her dentures in as soon as humanly possible. She felt naked and exposed without them. One time, after a simple exploratory procedure the recovery nurse wouldn’t permit mom to have them until she passed a few tests. “Wiggle your right foot”, the nurse instructed. Mom wiggled her right foot. The assessment continued. Mom wasn’t happy. The nurse finally instructed her to raise her left hand. Mom did as she was asked… but with her middle finger extended! The nurse then allowed her to have her dentures.

So… Knowing how important her dentures were to her, I can understand how running out of ‘tooth glue’, as she affectionately called the pink stuff in the tube, would be upsetting. I guess she thought she could always cut the tubes open and scrape out what she could until she had enough; but HUNDREDS of tubes? Huh? Knowing my mom the way I did, I really think she just couldn’t figure out if she should throw them out in the trash can, or recycle bin… so she kept them instead… for me to deal with. I trashed them.

I am sure you have heard the saying… ‘Don’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes’. My new saying on the same order is, ‘You don’t really know a person until you’ve cleaned out their dresser drawers’. So… What’s lurking in your drawers that others might find strange? If the answer is NOTHING… Perhaps you should throw a little spice into someone’s life and hide some off the wall item. You will certainly get the last laugh!