The Junk Man Cometh

9 Sep

First of all, I do not understand how it can be so difficult to find our house in broad daylight.  We live directly on a state highway, not down some winding drive through a development, and have a very distinctive mailbox. The man who came today to cart off the junk we cleaned out of the shed and the barn managed to get hopelessly lost, driving past us about five miles in each direction. He was about an hour later than he had planned, and probably used up half his profit in gasoline, poor soul.

By the time The Squire got finished this morning, he had collected five bucketsful of nails, screws, old hinges, doorknobs, and unmatched nuts and bolts. (Yesterday he only had two buckets, so I don’t know what he was doing out there.) He also tossed out fifteen – I stood and counted them! – empty paint cans, most so rusty they were more colander than can. I am fairly sure I could have listed those buckets of bolts on FreeCycle and have dozens of takers, including my best friend’s husband. However, I’m not mean enough to do that to another woman!

The main thing we wanted removed was a pile of old shingles from behind the barn, and the fellow got them all, even trying to dig them out where they had settled under the dirt. We told him to leave those. Several years ago, a young man we knew was trying to start his own home improvement business, and we hired him to replace the barn roof and take the old shingles to the dump. He did cart off the ones from the front of the barn, but he let the back shingles slide to the ground and then left them. We did not hire him for any more projects.

I have been spending my time sorting out old photos. Some folks I recognize, but others look vaguely familiar, but are not labeled. And I must have a dozen studio portraits of my mom and dad together, each beautifully framed, but oh! my goodness, what am I to do with them all. And what is the story behind one snapshot of my mum as a child, sitting on some lady’s lap, with the person standing behind them neatly cut out of the picture? Very interesting. I’m mailing the pictures of people I know to their (in most cases) descendants, and I’ve trashed a grocery bag full.

What is really frustrating is that many of those pictures have obviously been removed from a photo album, as there is black paper stuck to the backs.  The Squire’s aunt kept a beautiful album, from her childhood to the early years of her marriage, and she had always promised the album to him, so he could use it for his genealogy work. When she died, The Squire spoke to his cousin, and reminded her that he had been promised “all your mom’s pictures”. Several weeks later, he received a very lumpy envelope in the mail. His cousin had pulled every single snapshot from the album and sent them off. When he called to ask what had become of the album itself, his cousin replied “Well, I didn’t think you’d want all that old writing and stuff, so I just sent you the pictures, like you asked, and burned the book with the trash.”

I thought he was going to cry.

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