Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sell Your Soul




My loft area, again, looks like a dumping site. Oh, right...that's because it is. With all the clothes that are too large or too small for either one or both of the boys, the last dregs of my Mary Kay days waiting to be shipped out, and about 400 pounds of yarn, paper, stamps and other crafting accessories, the area that was supposed to be a safe haven is once again a hovel.

Enter the yard sale. I'm going to have a table at a multi-family garage sale this weekend, and I couldn't be more excited. Every summer growing up, my mom got together with at least her friend Suzy Poozy and they had what would become legendary yard sales in our hometown. My mom is notorious for selling anything that we weren't either wearing or sitting on at the time. With a 900 square foot house that held 6 members of my family, it's no wonder that it never looked clutter...she never allowed clutter to build!


There is a running joke (which is mostly serious) in the family that my dad's mementos from Vietnam (including pieces of the plane he was shot down in) were sold at a yard sale...and we have no evidence to prove otherwise. It was probably one of the boxes that she put out as 'junk' and slapped a 25 cent sticker on.


In my sister's post Luck Be My Mother Tonight she dips her toe into what we jokingly refer to as my mother's cute little addiction. (because addiction, in our family, is hilarious!) With a Mormon father, we never had alcohol, caffeine or any other mind-altering substances in the house and were discouraged from playing any games of chance. Lord knows when, or how, my mom discovered her adulterous love for the nickel slots, but she did. Probably after one of many visits from my Aunt, the nun, as that's how I learned to play poker...good times in the Arizona dessert learning phrases like "ante up!" at the tender age of 10.


Let me tell you, it was absolutely hilarious when my dad awoke in a hotel room while they were laid over in Vegas one night and my mother had still not come to the room at 3am. Frantic, images of her being kidnapped and tortured began running through his mind, he searched the casino floor. When he found her, with the glow of the screen alighting her face and asked "Nancy! What are you doing still down here?!" Without a thought to his panic or concern, she beamed at him with the glow of a child and answered "I'm winning!"


What does this have to do with yard sales? Well, about a decade ago, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation built a huge casino and 'resort' in the over-the-mountain-and-through-the-woods-to-gambling-slots-we-go (literally) town of Pendleton. With a family reunion looming, my mom has decided she needs to have another yard sale so she'll have a little 'stash' to take to Wild Horse with her brothers and sisters.

She began the conversation by innocently asking me if I cared if she sold my Sweet Valley High collection. I felt like it would be childish to say, uh yes, yes I do. Really, when am I going to read them again when I have great substitutes like Megan McCafferty? But, it's the principle...it takes a long time and lots of baby-sitting money to take your sister's collection and build it to the full 100+.


She then started talking about Pound Puppies, Alley Cats and Cabbage Patch Kids. Hold. The. Phone. "You are not selling those, Mom!" Now that we have kids that will actually play with all those things, I think I'm justified in saying that the 3-5 stuffed mementos I have from childhood are fine to keep. She brushed it off as if she were asking if I wanted her to bring them in for the kids to play with while we were visiting, as we get to go home for a full week in just five short days; I knew better.


She alluded to a trip to Wild Horse with her sibs and I knew that her lust for the ding-ding-ding of the winning slots was quickly over-riding her sentimentality of our child-hood goods. After agreeing that she would keep Fred, my pound puppy, 2 cabbage patch kids and would absolutely not, under any circumstances sell our "German dolls" (the dolls our dad brought back after being in Germany with the military one summer), I let it rest.

She moved to the next subject and then just before we hung up, she slyly asked "Do you think
Milly remembers she has those things in the garage?" "MOM! If she didn't remember, she will now...because I'm going to tell her. It's as the Indigo Girls said; I will not be a pawn for the Prince of Darkness, any longer." (Okay, so I thought of the catchy lyrics later, but it sounds much more clever if I'd used it in response to her).


Dejected, she hung up the phone. As I scavenge my children's toys and clothes for stuff to sell, I can't help but realize that it was not coincidence we're having a yard sale on the same day, 3,000 miles apart. I am inevitably, and irreversibly, turning into my mother.

1 comment:

The Jacobson/Knutsen Family Blogs said...

Loved this post. My parents moved when I was a sr. in college and they told me to take my stuff or it was going to be gone for good. I thought they meant my JUNK - not my STUFF (which is different in my mind). Anyway, gone are my jr. high and high school yearbooks, which I remind my parents of each year. I feel for you! Don't let your mom do it!! :) ~Andrea~