Tuesday, November 4, 2014

At-Home Archeology

Scrubbing the floor of our new house, I pulled out the drawer below the oven, and ack! I found...well, I found a lot of stuff.
Let me be clear: our new home is lovely, and the previous owners vacuumed and polished, but there are some places you just don't check when you are packing boxes in the middle of the night with the moving van parked in the driveway.
So there I am on the first day in my new house. Clorox and bucket in hand, I pull out the oven drawer all the way out, and underneath, there are...toys! A four-inch deep cache of them, all the colors of the rainbow. A record of one family's growth from binkies and tiny bibs through the alphabet fridge magnet phase and culminating in action figures, Legos and beads. All of it cemented together with kitchen ooze, and with one ancient waffle balanced on top.
How did that happen?
First theory: Mom used the oven drawer for emergency junk storage when company was on the way (guests never look there). Over the years, junk spilled over the sides and settled underneath, never to be seen again.
Theory two: Little Johnny discovered as a toddler that stuff disappeared forever when he slid it under the oven or dropped it down the side. As a bonus, it drove Mom crazy! Picture him looking on smugly as Mom explained to little Jane: "Your brother says that he does not have your My Little Pony comb, so stop crying, dammit, and your purple plastic horse is just going to have to have tangled acrylic hair."
Anyways, these are just theories.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that all of us have these kinds of caches, and not just accidental ones. We build them on purpose in garages and closets, kitchen drawers, sheds, shoe boxes and crawl spaces. Sometimes we call them "mementoes".
Cleaning my previous house before the move, I found a lot of junk: trunks full of the stuff that my husband and I couldn't bear to part with. I will move them to the new house and stack them up.
And one day some poor person will find it all and go: ack!