This is the year, I thought, of the De-Clutter Project, as I surveyed each room’s crammed shelves and drawers. Impose a fifteen minute limit and voluntarily suffer a daily dose of sorting, storing and recycling, and by year’s end I will have managed 5,475 minutes of life simplification. Resolutely, I reached for that first stack of books, envisioning an clean and orderly home in just ninety-one 2013 hours.
If today is any indication, the 3.8 days I committed to de-cluttering will only get me to the bottom of one pile.
I started the resolution with a photograph album; more journal than photo-document, this book chronicles an eleven day visit south of the Mason-Dixon line. I didn’t make it past the second page before deciding that I couldn’t give this to my daughter, or store it in an safe place. I had to reread it, and keep it within arm’s length for future reference and rumination. In other words, there was not one jot of de-cluttering in today’s 15 minutes of suffering.
Aw, I thought, I was such a sweet young mom, wanting to record my first mother-daughter trip. I kept reading, not sorting. The second page opened with an entry in my grandmother’s hand:
“She has grown so much. And she is talking- hurrah. Caitlin calls me GG for Great Grandmother. I love the name.”
What followed her note was a forgotten Story Moment, in which some minor details of my grandmother’s family were recorded.
Kerma Pauline was born to Charles Ross and Katherine Roahrig Bradford in 1905. In 1989 Kerma sat in my mother’s home, watching my toddler play, and recalled:
Grandpa John Roahrig (1849-1919)
One day, my grandmother recounted, she sat in the dining room playing paper dolls with her sister Thelma, her Grandpa Roahrig asleep in a nearby chair. Thelma talked incessantly and presently Grandpa, always a stern man, spoke up and said, “Thelma, your mouth moves as fast as a goose’s ass!”
The two girls decided to leave the fireside and play in the next room.
Grandpa Amaziah Bradford (1847-1928)
Kerma recalled that her Grandpa Bradford played the fiddle and clogged and played horse with his grandchildren. His son, Charles Ross, must have inherited his gifts, since Kerma recalled that her dad could play any stringed instrument–guitar, banjo and fiddle.
De-clutter to Discover
I may not have accomplished much in the way of de-cluttering, but I DID discover a treasure, hidden within the minor details of an old photo album, a side benefit of my daily fifteen which is sure to be repeated often in 2013.