You wouldn’t think that cleaning a house could be construed as an adventure. And it wasn’t, but my mom and I got ourselves into another Lucy and Ethel like escapade.
My cousin decided a few months back that she was going to come in for a visit. More to the point they wanted a place to stay while they went to the amusement park and zoo. My mom, being the spaz that she is, decided that the ENTIRE house needed to be cleaned before said visit. Okay, cleaning house doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary. What you need to consider is the sheer amount of stuff holed up in her house.
When my grandparents died, she inherited their house… and all the stuff in it. So not only is there all of Grandma and Grandpa’s stuff there is her stuff, my stuff, my uncles stuff, my son’s stuff, and very little of it can be thrown away because there is either a memory or sentimental value attached to it. My mother is not a hoarder; she will throw away things or give them away. The latter being preferable because that means it’s being useful to someone else and not being wasted.
So now, because I was to start in what was my room, there is a pathway that runs through the kitchen into the room and to the bed. I can’t just clean, I don’t know how. I have to pull everything out, look at it, determine it’s work, monetary or sentimental, and then find a place to put it, either in the trash or find it a home.
It dawned on me the other day, my mom is older, 55. We have no family in this part of the state except one another. I wonder if there has been a study done on the effects of nostalgia on the brain. I wonder if those happy, sad, excited memories have the same effect as dopamine or serotonin. As much as I gripe about all of the stuff in her house, I have the same affliction. We will pull out an object, paper, whatever and hash out it’s origins or the memory connected to it.
I put a picture of my grandfather and I on Facebook the other day, not for ‘likes’ rather because it made me feel good, and sentimental. In the first day it received 22 likes and three comments. I only have 146 people on my FB so 15 percent of the people on my FB page liked the picture. I don’t remember taking the picture, it was of my grandpa and I and I didn’t realize the look of pure love that he was looking down at me with at the time. I am a little drippy just thinking about it now.
I can imagine that being the same type of feelings that she has looking at the things in her house. Neither of my grandparents are among the living anymore, nor are their brothers and sisters. All that is left of the previous generation is their stuff and our memories.