2002.06.12 Offering my junk to the curbside pickup

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

Remember that song made popular by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons? It goes something like this:


Let’s hang on to what we got 

Don’t let go, Col, we got a lot

Got a lot of junk between us 

Hang on, hang on, hang on

To what we got 

[doo-doo doo-doo doo-doo]


Well, that’s how the love song might go if my husband were singing it. We have a whole lot of junk between us.

We even have stuff in our basement that was here before we moved into our house more than 16 years ago. Stuff we really should have gotten rid of ages ago but for one reason or another—too heavy, serving some purpose, seemed like it could serve a purpose some day—we never put this junk out.

David doesn’t visit the basement as often as I do.

“What did the previous owners leave here besides a bucket of ashes?” he asks.

“Two buckets of ashes,” I remind him.

“We have that weird triangular green couch,” I continue.

 It’s easy to forget this couch. Tucked away in the corner of a little room in the basement, it’s covered with model airplanes and ships that Ben made years ago, an old cracked glass pitcher that came from David’s grandmother which is why we continue to keep it—intending to repair it—scraps of plasterboard, and other assorted odds and ends. But the hideous green still shows through.

And now that we’re ready to discard it in the big city-wide clean-up Saturday, we don’t want people to think it’s really ours.

“We could cover it with a blue tarp,” he suggests.

Hmm, could we use the blue tarp treatment for the stuff we’re not putting out? Because the clutter doesn’t end in the basement.

If I told you how long little bottles of nail polish, sample bottles of shampoo and bubble bath, deodorant bottles, tubes of lip balm, errant Q-Tips and cotton balls, have been falling out of the bathroom cupboard every time its door is opened, you probably wouldn’t let your kids or grandkids play with my kids. I’ve fully intended to tackle this task but once you shove the stuff back in and shut the door, it’s easy to forget until the next morning when it all tumbles out again and then of course, there isn’t time.

Somehow, Sunday became cleaning day. My to-do list did not originally include cupboard de-cluttering, but when I had to wrestle the falling bottles during a search for a back-up bottle of sunscreen, I knew it just couldn’t be put off anymore. David had misplaced the sunscreen he’d used just the day before and I was sure additional bottles could be found nestled in their own little basket of like items: Summer Lotions (sunscreen and bug repellent).

Finding the little basket meant removing the two travel bags of toiletries, the Klutz Press face painting book, the bag of cotton balls, and an assorted mess of bottles (refer to the falling items above).

Once all that was out, there was no stopping me. I decluttered and organized with wild abandon. You’d never know it to look in the cupboard or the trash, though. I could only let go of an essentially empty can of mousse, several tubes of lip balm, various toothpaste tubes with just a tiny bit left (some kid seems to replace them with a full tube before getting every last bit out), and a few trial samples of shampoo and such.

I worry about the poor example I’m setting for my kids. Will they repeat the pattern and make a home with too much stuff cluttering their lives? But I think back to a game we played on the way to New York for spring break. I had brought along the book, From Around the Family Table: 365 Mealtime Conversations for Parents and Children by Ronda Coleman, and the kids humored me by calling out numbers and I read the thought provoking questions.

The condensed version of number nine: You have 10 minutes to get out of your house due to an impending wildfire raging nearby. What do you take with you?

They, and their friends who accompanied us, hashed around a few things such as a pillow, clothes and pictures, but ultimately concluded that the material things don’t really matter.

Now, if I could hang on to that thought, I might be able to let a few more items join the ugly green couch at the curb.

    – June 12, 2002
  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Front.batter

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017