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So my parents never threw anything out

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by friend of the friendless, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Sirs, Madames,

    My parents were the ultimate pack-rats. Never threw out anything. More than that, if it was free, my parents scooped it up by the mittful. Packets of relish, mustard and ketchup ... piled up in the refrigerator even though my parents weren't hamburger eaters. Drawers full of giveaway pens from businesses that went tilt ten and even twenty years ago. It was even more pronounced after my mother died ten years back. My father still acquires but just doesn't use anything. Give him a chocolate bar and he'll divide it into four and have a piece every other day.

    Now if you think I exaggerate, I give you my father's 89th birthday. He's not moving around so well but he still lives on his own (basically across the street from us). The little FOTFs, the Significant Other and I swung by with a cake for him last night. He was very appreciative. But ... oops ... we didn't have napkins. "I have some," he said. He goes into the kitchen and emerges with napkins. Not just that they were issued by MacDonald's (or someone like that). No, the napkins had logos on them, celebrating the Olympics ... the Olympics in Lake Placid 1980.

    Nothing like holding on to some paper napkins for 30 years. (Looked on ebay and didn't see any collectible napkins ... priceless, I guess).

    I guess those of us of a certain vintage had folks who grew up in the Depression (or in my parents' case, on farms in a country where the Depression didn't affect their already ridiculously low standard of living). This is supposed to be one of the byproducts, I guess. Does anyone have parents with the same pathological make-up? I'm looking for napkins from the the 1976 Games in Montreal.

  2. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    Ketchup goes with *everything*.

    My great-grandmother was of similar mind. When she died we found TV dinner pans by the stack, but we kind of wrote it off because she'd lived through the Depression.

    My father saves everything, and files, it. If you gave him your business card in 1955, he'd have still have in in a file called "People: FOTF."

    I had quite the memorable day once I opened up one of the paper-crammed filing cabinets. I learned roaches could fly, and it's still a scary memory. They're big in Florida.

    Anotherday, likely a generation ago, I purged his "eyeglasses" file and threw out spare parts belonging to nothing. Or maybe it was "watches," but the same thing.

    I forget, but he still remembers. When he sees a family member he hasn't seen in a long time, he's still quick to report that some of his stuff "disappeared" and gives me the evil eye.
  3. Dirk Legume

    Dirk Legume Active Member

    I know that some of the stuff that gets saved (OK perhaps not McDonalds napkins :) ) Have sentimental value to the saver. But if that value is never communicated to anyone else, then it just ends up being crap that got saved.

    When my mother died, we found, in her keepsake box, a Montgomery Wards tire club card from 1962. She died in 2001. She had obviously kept it for a reason, but she never said anything to my brother and I about it, so we ended up just throwing it out. But we felt weird when we did, like we were throwing out something important.
  4. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    When my grandmother died, my mother found every cancelled check my grandparents ever wrote since the Depression. Then she kept them all, 'just in case.'

    My mother has also retained every gift box and shred of wrapping paper she has ever received. Just in case.

    Same for 18,000 hotel shampoos that dried up twenty years ago.
  5. Iron_chet

    Iron_chet Well-Known Member

    My grandparents were the same way.

    Styrofoam McDonals Big Mac containers that were used for camping in their tiny Boler Trailer. It is not like my gramps would buy the Big Mac, he would collect them from the parking lots around McDonalds.

    He would also do the same thing with the 7-11 plastic slurpee cups that featured NHLers or Superheroes.

    I would love to say this was part of his charm but mostly everyone found it irritating.

    He was also the guy who would hang around in the produce section of the local grocer right before closing time and make a $1.00 offer for the box of cherries that was just about to rot. The expectation was my Grandma could spend the rest of the night making jam while he boasted about his great deal.
  6. Machine Head

    Machine Head Well-Known Member

    My dad is in his 80s and I know I'll have to get a large dumpster when the time comes to clear out the house.

    His wallet is about six inches thick. He carries stuff going back to the 1940's in it.

    Mr. FOTF, there are McDonald's collectors who would scoop up those napkins, I bet.
  7. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    There has to be some collectable value in this stuff. Where is his unopened wax box of 1953 Topps baseball cards?

    I'm sure you have read stuff like this before...

  8. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    THIS was my grandmother. She'd save her napkin from lunch and use it at dinner. But mostly, she just had an enormous bag of lotions and shampoos and conditioners from god knows when (she hadn't traveled in decades). It was truly awe-inspiring.
  9. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    I have packrats on both sides of my family. None of them are to the same extent as yours, though.

    My former publisher and CEO are to the same extreme, however. They'd give me shit about getting rid of old newspapers and forms and all from 30 years ago. And that was when I had to clear my office out to move to a different space while I still worked there.
  10. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    My grandmother used to put the extra dinner rolls and butter patties in her bag when we took her to restaurants.
  11. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    I worked with a guy who had to help her grandmother move out of a place after a long, long time. Something along the line of 105 large trash bags of stuff.

    My mother and uncle helped my grandfather move out of a place only 3-4 years ago. Some stuff in the attic dated back to World War II. Scads of stuff in that place, including a couple of rooms I had rarely seen as a child. Crazy ...
  12. MartinEnigmatica

    MartinEnigmatica Active Member

    My late grandfather used to stow away canned goods in this little cave-like space in one of his houses. He'd buy them wholesale, then shove them in there, which made it hell when they moved; just hundreds of cases. But that at least seemed practical. And shit, I guess after being a child of the depression and having to scrape by on god-knows-what in WWII, it was totally understandable for him to do that.
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