Anita's Column


Junk drawers, almost every house has one and since I recently had my kitchen remodeled, I had to clean mine out. Actually, since I have lived in this house since 1979 and my grandmother lived here before me, I had three junk drawers. Since I was in a hurry to get stuff out of the kitchen, I dumped some of the drawers into totes and since this cold weather has me trapped inside a great deal of the time, I have been going through them.

What I found most interesting is why did grandmother and I keep some of this stuff. I found broken items that I am sure I thought I would repair with Super Glue at a later date. The problem is now I have the broken item without the leg or head or whatever broke off the item. I also discovered pens that no longer work, buttons, balloons, dog collars and game pieces.

Daughter #4 was helping me sort through various boxes of junk when she found a box of rocks. “Mom, why do you have a box of rocks?” she questioned.

“Check the back and see if there is message,” I told her.

“Yes, it says ‘Wyo, 1963,” she said.

“That’s Grandmother Minnie’s rock,” I said. “It means she picked it up in Wyoming in 1963. We went there many times to attend the Frontier Days Rodeo. It was her souvenir of the trip in 1963.”

Daughter #4 just shook her head in disbelief. “Why do you still have it?”

“Because it was special to Grandmoth6er Minnie!”

Next, she opened a cigar box that was full of pressed four leaf clovers. “Let me guess, this was Grandmother Minnie’s collection too,” she said.

“Yes, she loved to look for four leaf clovers and she would press them in her dictionary,” I said. “There are probably more still in the dictionary since no one seems to use one anymore.”

As I continued to clean, I walked around the house putting coins in the cuss jar and buttons in the button box. We started the cuss jar when the kids were little.

Every time they said one of the “bad words” they had to put a coin in the “cuss jar”. One night Bob came home and started emptying his pockets into the cuss jar.

“What is going on?” I asked.

“Bad day,” he replied. “I am paying in advance.”

Starting on the second junk drawer, I found used birthday candles. I added them to my sack of candles. It reminded me of a birthday celebration at my brother’s house when he didn’t have any birthday candles. I told him to check the junk drawer. I remembered they had a plastic bag full of them. My sister-in-law looked rather guilty.

“I threw them out,” she said. “I didn’t know you could reuse them.”

I don’t know how sanitary it is but we always wash them off and stick them in a baggie to use the next birthday.

I found enough pocket knives to give one to each grandson. I found lost game pieces, newspaper clippings, recipes and paint brushes. If I just organized things better then I would never have to buy anything again.

Actually, I enjoyed going through my grandmother’s unusual collections. The only problem is I don’t get much done in the sorting process as I tend to want to read whatever clippings my grandmother saved or read through her various columns; she wrote for the Benton County Enterprise. I found all the letters I wrote to grandmother when I was in college and I also found all the ones that my girls sent to me. #1 Son didn’t write many letters when he left home.

I also found locks of hair that grandmother and I both saved as well as a box of baby teeth. I don’t know whose teeth are whose. Although I used to think Grandmother Minnie was a bit on the quirky side, I have discovered in going through our collective junk drawers that we were actually very much alike.

After surveying some of my treasurers from my junk drawer, Daughter #2 wondered if I should start clearing out the attic. I replied that I wouldn’t want to take away from the surprises that await her and her siblings in the attic, after I have “shuffled off this mortal coil.”