Because the Bakers never stay home...
We journeyed to Massena on Saturday to help out with the clean out of Mom's house. Mark and I were assigned to clean out "the attic," which is really nothing more than a very small crawlspace off the bedroom. For years the attic has been a source of curiosity for me...I remember years ago that there was a lot of stuff from our childhoods in there. I was anxious to get digging, and my main goal was to try to find my mother's wedding dress, which I believed to be in there.
The house itself is in quite a chaotic state. Most of the furniture is gone, and what is left is an overwhelming amount of junk - tchotchke. I think I've spoken of this before, but my mother had a tendency toward hoarding and buying cheap, tacky stuff for years, and after my dad passed away it seemed to get exponentially worse. Now, we have to figure out what to do with all the knick knacks and other useless stuff. It's hard to believe so many figurines, gadgets, and kitchen do-dads could fit into a 900 square foot house.
But I digress. Back to the attic.
We dove in, or, rather, I should say that Mark dove in, and started pulling stuff out. I am not lying when I say that at least 1/3 of the attics contents were plastic bags in plastic bags in plastic bags. The other 1/3 was comforters, bedsheets and table cloths. There was also an overwhelming amount of Christmas stuff. I think what must have happened is that each year, instead of burrowing into the attic to get the Christmas decorations, my mother just bought more. Seriously. It was amazing. Also among the "treasures" was every birthday, anniversary and Christmas card she ever received. WHY WHY WHY?! I know, I know....living through the Depression and all that jazz.
But, the attic did yield some amazing treasures as well. Mark, in the quick succession of pushing and handing stuff out of the small opening, passed on a garbage back with what looked to be yet another blanket/comforter. I stuck my hand in and felt...velvet! It was the dress! How excited was I? It's just beautiful and in great condition - still bright and holding together very well! We also found several Yankee playbooks and tickets from Dad's trips to watch his favorite team play - including the World Series against the Red Sox in the 1960 and a trip to "The Price is Right" in New York City, - Dad's diploma, tons of very old pictures, our christening gowns, bags and bags of baby clothes, and various childhood mementos. It was really fun seeing what we could discover next.
It was a dirty job, and quite laborious, but I'm glad we did it. It was amazing how much was stuffed into that small space.
Things with the house are winding down, but there is still a lot of work to be done. I'm not sure if I'll get back up there before we put it on the market. I anticipate it will take a while to sell as it needs a lot of repair work, and the interior needs a major update, having last been renovated in something like 1978 (and it shows!). Massena is so economically depressed and there are tons of houses for sale, so we'll just have to hope for the best. So many memories...I hope the house can find a nice family to take care of it and give it life again.