Snooping Vs. Searching/Sorting/Sifting

At my instigation, my DH and I were comparing childhood ‘snooping’ stories this evening. I asked if he’d ever snooped through his parents closet or dressers when he was a kid. This after confessing my 15-year old safari through my parent’s closet and dressers!

My DH was a unique child in that he didn’t rebel, act out, or generally have an alternate life that his folks were clueless about. This came about, in part, due to the culture of being home-schooled by those highly qualified to do so. He had very little to rebel against in such a supportive educational and family environment.

My DH’s memory, of over 45-years ago, is that he snooped, and found something exceptional in his explorations. I shared a similar story, tho my closet discovery was very different from that of my DH.

Sharing these stories made me realize why it’s been so tremendously difficult for me to sift and sort through all of my parents belongings. While there are parts of the sorting that are categorized, it feels like snooping.

Reading the details on my dad’s divorce decree. Diving into my mom’s archived email. Deciding what paper-documents should be kept, and what can be let go of turns me around. My dad’s photo archives are no easier, tho recently figuring out a binder’s worth of pictures and negatives were taken for a real estate outfit, over 20-years, ago made it easy to toss that collection. Now there’s only 4792 binder’s worth to go. There are a couple of magazine collections that are valuable, if you can afford to ship them to the person who wants them… Going through the books, professional archives, art, serious tools, furniture (that no one in the family is going to want), correspondence, etc is overwhelming. And it’s everywhere: In six building on three properties, plus a storage unit.

One of the fallouts of snooping, I mean searching is questioning your parents, and having no way to reconcile what you discover, what troubles you… ‘What was dad thinking when…’ ‘Mom wasn’t in her right mind when she…’ Well no, she likely wasn’t.

Of the things I’ve found, that I am compelled by are: A collection of my mother’s poetry that is so good I’d like to explore publishing it, and her collection of family photographs (in many different boxes) that I’d like to pull together a cohesive album, digitizing as I go. I am surrounded by my father’s art and sensibilities. Perhaps I am searching for a little of the same from my mother.

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