September 20, 2023


My Mom, as a young married woman, noticed when visiting her Mother - my Grandma - that Grandma kept junk mail. Mom complained to Grandma, who denied that it was junk. When Grandma wasn't looking, Mom threw the junk mail away. But Grandma found it in the trash and retrieved it. So Mom sneakily took the junk mail and threw it away at her own house.

Forty years later, I realized that Mom was a hoarder. She kept old papers and useless junk that piled up all over her house and made it look like a garbage dump. I couldn't get her to part with anything. I complained, and she said she wasn't so bad compared to her own Mother, and then told me the story about the junk mail.

"But you save junk mail!" I protested. "No I don't," she claimed. I turned to a box on the floor and reached inside, exposing a handful of Grandma's ancient junk mail, carefully preserved along with dead relatives' bank statements from closed accounts at banks that no longer existed, postcards from the vacations of long-forgotten people with indecipherable handwriting, clothing still in the original packages, and the occasional spoon.

What Mom didn't know was that I had already developed the habit of taking her hoarded trash home wth me to throw out.


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