Pillaging the Temple: Unexpected Finds

Posted: July 29, 2012 in DIY, family, humor, Life, Music
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

How Natasha found her groove…

We had to keep the bright blue and white reflective highway sign. It was stolen. And it was a house-warming gift.

Some decisions in the Great Garage Plunder of 2012 were easy to make; others, not so much. Over the past 17 years, our garage had become a shrine to the purposeful and the pointless. When we cleaned it out to move it to make way for the Shangri-la that will be our new garage (“Can We Build It? God only knows”), it was obvious that not everything was going to make the “we’re keeping this” cut.

Jay’s numerous tools are in the storage unit awaiting their new digs. My Sponge Bob SquarePants golf ball went to the thrift store with my secondhand golf bag containing a putter, a driver and the broken remains of a couple of irons. The previous owners were sore losers and I’m a half-assed beginner, hence the hand-me-downs.

Yes to lawnmower, shovels, extension cords and assorted cans of spray paint. No to three half-empty bags of potting soil (yes I’m both a pessimist AND forgetful about where I put things), a stack of rubber mats for steel-tip dartboards, and the Easyrider pin-ups who are now in their 50’s. Then we happened on a little item that had us stumped: a pocket guide to speaking Russian.

It clearly wasn’t ours. The only Russian we speak has been gleaned from “The Hunt for Red October” (my hubby’s favorite movie) and it’s spoken with an accent reminiscent of Boris and Natasha from “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” Toss, Jay said. Keep, I countered.

While I’ll never be featured on A&E’s “Hoarders”, I tend to accumulate, in small manageable amounts, items of a curious nature. The Russian primer was my second looted treasure in as many months. The first was unearthed during my annual spring pilgrimage to Minnesota to visit my dad. On the agenda during my stay was tackling the remnants of the three households stored in his basement. The majority of it was amassed by my parents during 40 years of marriage; the rest of it was inherited from my deceased grandparents and godparents.

“Happy Birthday, Mary Ka-ay…!”

Hidden within that labyrinth was the complex history of my family. Dad’s airman stripes from his 1960’s service in the Air Force. A tiny Japanese lantern from my mom’s senior prom. Enough Catholic rosaries to outfit a convent of nuns. And the mother lode: a personal greeting record my grandparents gave to my mother in 1950 for her 7th birthday. It plays “Happy Birthday” with her name sung in the chorus. Imagine how excited she must have been to put that 45 on her little record player for the first time.

Piles of clutter bother me not because they’re an eyesore but because I need to know what’s buried in them. I crave the thrill of revelation and the angst of what to do with the recovered. I use what I can. The birthday record has joined my collection of 45’s. And I’m learning Russian. So far, I can tell a customs agent “These are for my personal use”. God, I hope he’s a “Bullwinkle” fan.

What unexpected treasures have you pillaged?

  1. I was stripping photos out of frames when my mom was getting ready to move to her new house, and found behind one of our family photos from the 80’s a black and white photo of several people circa 1928 two of whom were my maternal grandmother and her sister. Mom was surprised. It turned out that the framed photo was from grandma’s house and no one knew what was behind it. That photo haunts me. Who are the rest of the people. What was the occasion? What was going on in grandma’s life at that time? We will never know. Good luck with the Russian!

    • Hell yes, you’ll know! Come on, Nancy Drew – I know you’re up for an investigation. Make copies of the photo and circulate them to your family members; maybe somebody else in the family has a copy, too, and a little history for it. Perhaps they’ll recognize somebody else in the picture and you can narrow down occasions from there. How old was your grandma at the time? How were they dressed? Was the photo taken indoors or outdoors? What can you assume from what you see in the picture ASIDE from the people?

      fsiVO khaROshiva! (which is phonetic Russian for “good luck”…I think…)

  2. Denise says:

    I have found many “treasures” this summer! I can’t get rid of family heirlooms.
    Can’t wait to hear you speaking Russian! Especially to my husband that speaks hs own language at times!

    • So you’re keeping the printing press? BRAVA! Too bad you couldn’t print a copy of that wedding invitation from the print plate. I’ve learned a few Russian phrases so far but really wish I’d found the cassette tape that goes with the book to make sure I’m saying them correctly. Your hubby should offer classes in Booganese, although when he adds in the gestures, I think we all get the message. Had SO much fun with you Friday!

  3. @Lynnette: pa-ZHA-lusta!

  4. kvalleryy says:

    Ah, Kelly, I love your sense of humor. How I’ve missed you girls on your “And then SHE said…” As far as saving–that’s a sore point. I have slides that are crumbling and need to be put on CDs. I didn’t bring much to CO, but it’s mostly all where I sat it when it was unloaded from the trailer! I DO have some stationery from my Dad’s honey business–with his brother and their Dad. I know it was from the 30’s at least–black and white, but with red in the flowers–proudly proclaiming “W. J. McIntire & Sons” Black Hill’s Best Honey. I certainly couldn’t write on it. Who is going to? Would my daughters want stationery from generations ago? How about a framed piece of blank stationery to hang on the wall! I should just dump it to keep them from having to go through the same quandary–although that’s a no-brainer with all boys coming up, I guess. Lynnette, bring your picture to the sibling reunion–one of your 80-year old aunts is likely to know at least SOME of those present.

    • Well, hello, Miss Kay! Good to hear from you. I love that you have the stationery from your dad’s business, and I’ll bet your very artistic girls would come up with some creative uses if gifted with a few pages. I miss “She Said”, too, but don’t count us out just yet. I don’t think the girls over there are gone forever; maybe just more on an extended leave of absence for now. =)

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