Monday, November 21, 2011

Clean Drawers

Once I helped empty out a house when the elderly occupants had gone on. In the bureau drawer of the Mrs. was a book on eugenics. What?!  All tasks ground to a halt at his unexpected discovery. Why was this monstrosity in a sweet old lady’s dresser drawer?  Nestled inside the pages were a clipped magazine article on lowering a child’s fever and some pie recipes. There weren’t many books in this house, so this was quite a curious find.
Being a bookish lot we hovered over this menacing manual to check it out. It offered useful tidbits like “do not marry an insane woman.”  And how to, and when it is appropriate, to chloroform one’s spouse.  Now we are all familiar with the old adage about donning your good, clean skivvies in case of an unexpected trip to the hospital. Yet have you ever considered what you have shoved in your drawers at home?
Are you hiding your chocolate stash?  Mine is dark, but that only proves I have exquisite taste. What about your books? The only skeleton in my book closet would be an excessively over-due library book. The Hobbit, I checked it out when I was in high school and the library closed for remodeling and then I moved away… and then I moved again, and again, and again, and that is the truth. Is there a statute of limitations on library books?  Would they extradite me?
We never did find out why that warped old tome was jammed in her drawer of unmentionables. I can verify that absolutely everything they ever touched, including every Christmas card or coupon was still in that house, including a surprising abundance of five and ten dollar bills. Some were rolled up in the window shades, tucked in with the nighties, rolled into socks, and between plates in the kitchen cupboard.
My kids enthusiastically helped clear out that entire house. Of course all the proceeds went to the estate, but they still thought it was better than an Easter Egg Hunt. I pointed out that the most they could ever hope to locate in my belongings was loose change in old pocketbooks. That and, as a tongue in cheek token for my help, the family gave me that book on eugenics. So if you’re ever in my house and spot that puppy, please note - 1) That it is a creepy antique and I’m a book freak 2) Obviously my hubby never read it and 3) Shush, because I know the proper way to use chloroform.


  1. Steph, do you know how much is a deadly dose of chloroform? Maybe find out before you test that oldster's recipe? : )

  2. Pick me up a bottle while you're still in NOLA? I'm sure the directions are on the back. ;D

  3. I think I'll just leave a note in my will, "For whomever cleans out my junk: remember, I was a writer. Do not be alarmed."