Junk in da trunk

Mom and i rarely see things the same way.  And not just because she’s got a touch of the ol’ macular degeneration going on…

Arriving to pick her up for a belated Easter dinner, i was greeted with a pile of crap in her driveway.  As i got out of the car, my niece, DQ, came over from her house next door to explain.  She and Mom had spent a couple hours clearing some junk from the garage – in order to excavate an ancient roll top desk* that could still be serviceable with repair and refinishing. 

Mom doesn’t like to get rid of housewares.  Things that might still be useful.  In order to convince Mom to get rid of a few such items, DQ would say “I bet daisyfae could use this!” and it went into the pile in the driveway.  DQ told me that there was a thrift store drop off location nearly on my way home…

At the bottom of the stack was something that truly caught my eye.  A small, black steamer trunk.  DQ said “She was willing to throw that out, but I thought you might actually want that.  It was your Dad’s…”.  Oh, hell yeah…   Piling it all into my car, i completed the task at hand – and took Mom out for a belated Easter dinner.

Returning home, Mom felt compelled to root through the trash dumpster, and complained that DQ threw out things she wanted to keep… pulling a plastic ‘hula girl’ bra from the top of the pile, she said “Like this!  I might want this someday…” and continued to look for more discarded treasures… i explained (again) that she’ll need to prioritize, because we can’t begin to clean the house for her if we’re just moving shit from place to place.  It’s got to go.

The displaced housewares were dropped at the thrift store, but the trunk found its way home with me.  Yellowed stickers from railway transit.  Boston to Detroit.  Value:  $150.  Guessing that it was in the late 1940’s when Dad graduated and started his first job after college.  It needed some cleaning, but was in good shape.

My daughter has a good eye for re-purposing used items, and immediately said “You were looking for an accent table for that wall?  Just put some legs on it…”. 

Done.  And my Mother’s garbage has found a perfectly good home in my living room…


* The desk?  Belonged to Mom’s Grandfather.  That’d be DQ’s Great-great-grandfather.  Best guess is that this desk was purchased shortly after the turn of the century.  It has been molding and rotting in that garage since her father died in 1979.  At least it is mostly salvageable… unlike many other items that have gotten buried under the faded plastic flowers, stacks of old magazines, empty popcorn tins and plastic butter tubs that Mom refuses to let go of…

24 thoughts on “Junk in da trunk

  1. This is an awesome treasure to find! And I love that you found a great new purpose for it. With all the memories your dad put into it, it’s a real treasure for sure.

    I got a little junk in the trunks goin’ on over at my place too. 😉

  2. Great treasure daisyfae.

    Isn’t it funny what some people value though?

    I don’t know what it is about my Mom, though. She wasn’t born until after the depression. She was the youngest of seven (that lived) and spoiled. Sure, they were poor, but I don’t think she was seriously deprived.

    And, yet, she has the strangest compulsion for stuff. A lot of it is still in boxes since her move from Regina to Penticton and, thankfully, she did purge quite a bit. The things she treasures though. You can hardly move around her place. She finds it cozy, I guess, while I find it claustrophobic.


    Glad you found that old trunk of your dad’s. Especially apt as seven years is coming up.

  3. “Like this! I might want this someday…”

    Thats a hard urge to overcome. Though I’m guessing a plastic ‘hula girl’ bra, wouldn’t be on to many peoples keep lists.

  4. Fantastic trunk, although it might look even better with a plastic hula girl on top. Unfortunately, I also have the cannot-throw-out-something-that-still-has-use-even-if-it’s-totally-crap gene …

  5. fragrant liar – in the trunk were newspapers from 1964, lining it. and a baby blanket, knitted for me by his aunt angelina. who was long dead before my memories start…

    Bb – i’m not big on stuff. i like stuff that is useful and means something. this is now both. makes me happy…

    rob – ‘cozy’ vs ‘claustrophobic’. that’s a tough one. mom’s house is beyond claustrophobic. it’s a fire trap. we’ve tried to clean, organize and help her get it manageable, but she always craps it back up again. 2 1/2 car garage, stacked to the ceiling with junk. small path around the edges for navigation… we had it half emptied, and within 6 months it was full again. we have no idea where she found all the shit… frustrating, but it’s her life. and the quality thereof is her choice. hope she doesn’t burn to death.

    michael – there’s quite a bit going on… posting is to maintain the discipline, and it helps me think. never mind staying connected to my imaginary friends on teh interwebs…

    ginny – it’ll be there for a bit, then perhaps i’ll put it elsewhere. i’m kinda restless when it comes to stuff. life, too, at the moment…

    alex – it’s just that she likes cheap plastic crap. kitschy stuff. goofy plastic toys that make annoying noises. dancing santas. they make her happy, so i try to look away and let it be. but the minute she complains about losing something she really needs, or not being able to find things? i’m all over it…

    dolce – the girl is the brains of the outfit. when she said ‘legs’, i would have gone for something longer, but she emphasized ‘short legs, maybe 6″ or so”. it works. she’s talented…

    nursemyra – good eye, hot stuff! yep. just happens to match. wasn’t sure i’d put it out, but there are happy memories in that fan…

    tNb – i fight the urge. but can usually overcome it by asking myself ‘will i REALLY ever use this?’ and ‘do you think someone else might want it?’ and then donating it to the local thrift store for happy repurposing… without the thrift store option? i’d have a much harder time with it…

  6. i’m a rabid ‘free-cycler’ – mostly because it’s a great way to get rid of a bunch of stuff that i don’t want anymore, but can’t stand to send to the dump… and because it’s a really great way to get some frivolous items that you would never actually pay for. i guess the point being that if you sign up for your local freecycle group (through yahoo), you can get and give just about anything your heart could desire.

    but keeping the trunk was a most excellent choice. and kudos to the girl for suggesting putting legs on it!

  7. mmm, fantastic reuse!

    I would have had to send Bank-Robbing Baily over to your place for that trunk if you would have curbed it.

    (I have my granddad’s trunk at the foot of my bed, holding extra pillows, blankets and a Baileyface)

  8. That trunk is definitely the shit.

    I have rules about keeping things. (Get rid of at least ten articles of clothing a year. Never going to read that magazine again, no matter how much you liked that one article about Jack Nicholson turning seventy.)

  9. unbearable banishment – i wish. the tenor sax is still missing. after several of us have rooted around in every imaginable nook and cranny. gone, baby, gone sold, baby, sold.

    daisy mae – i’m familiar with free cycle, and have a friend who is attentive (gets us cool stuff for the theater that way). also learned of “craig’s list curb alerts’ after a garage sale last year! fabulous way to recycle! i’m more of a ‘give it to someone who needs it’ person… having gotten rid of much excess furniture to various people in need over the years… trying hard to let go of more stuff… it’s just stuff…

    stephanie – suspect that bank-robber-bailey would have no trouble getting past security-guard-mr-pickles. she’s a hottie. gotta ask: ‘baileyface’? huh?

    unclekeith – i’m pretty sure she liked you ‘as is’, no need for rehab!

    rassles – what? you got rid of that magazine with the jack nicholson article? damn, damn, damn…. now i’m going to have to find it on ebay!

    jimmy – i’d rather sell my mom. oh, shit. did i say that out loud?

  10. Perfect, absolutely perfect! Probably a good thing you got it away from your mother, too. Treasure all the kitschy plastic treasures. If they are old enough, you find out they are worth big bucks on Antiques Roadshow. Maybe it’s her way of leaving you a fortune.

  11. Some of those plastic toys are worth a fortune..Love the trunk very good idea from the Girl. Oh yeah, Antique Roadshow is waiting for you to show up.

  12. i was so hoping you would say the missing sax was in the chest…. even still it was a good find…. tip of the hat to mom for storing it for you all of these years.

  13. Wonderful chest. Im sure some of the junk you might be able to sell on Ebay if you look around there are actually people that pay money for even kitchy (sp?) stuff.

    ”Hula bra?” On your mother? Getting a visual here and its not good.

  14. silverstar – there’s just so much of it! don’t know if i have enough hours left in my life to get it all sorted and organized, let alone posted on ebay… a 2 1/2 car garage packed to the ceiling. nevermind what’s cluttering up a 3 bedroom house!

    hisqueen – it turned out beautifully! working on the rest of the wall/decor on that side, getting things in the two vases, etc. waiting til The Girl is back in town next week to get it finished… she’s got an amazing eye for this sort of thing!

    paisley – sadly, no joy of sax. pretty sure it got removed and sold. best guess is my niece’s first husband needed it to buy some weed… (sigh)

    stacy – thanks for the visual! AAAARGH! but i can see momma doing something like that… i wonder if i could convince my niece to take up ebaying as a hobby…. maybe…

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