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Yesterday, Jen and I went to Townville for a few hours. We’re using our yard sale on Aug 23rd as motivation to clean out the storage building and attic…. a truly daunting task.

While Jen was fixing lunch, I took a self-guided tour of the yard. I haven’t really SEEN the yard since Mama died… but I noticed her crepe myrtles in full bloom as we pulled up, and suddenly remembered all the “tours” that Mama led… she was so very proud of her flowers. The yard has changed – not for the better. Most of the flowers are dead, the bushes need to be trimmed, there are cobwebs on Mama’s swing. It feels so distant sometimes – like that was someone else’s life. The fun house mirror analogy keeps coming to mind – I know that’s my reflection in the mirror but things are just not right – all wavy and distorted.

1) Mama’s blooming crepe myrtles… and our brown, brown SC grass
2) Our childhood playhouse. The overgrowth surrounding it used to be a beautiful butterfly garden.
3) Susanna’s little red wagon, now rusted and covered in cobwebs.
4) Bricks from Townville Elementary School, where I attended K through 6th. Mama fought for that school just like she fought for everything – with unwavering determination and perseverance. Finally, instead of closing it down, they tore it down… and built a new one. It was a bittersweet victory – Townvillians were thrilled that the district had invested such a sum of money into a school that they had previously thought to be the “weakest link.” But the old buildings were beautiful, historic, a part of Townville history… so sad that it’s gone.

**And just a side note: In Nov 2007, Townville Elem was named a Blue Ribbon school… And Mama’s not mentioned in the article, but she should be… just saying :)

After lunch, we climbed into the attic – well, Jennifer climbed and handed stuff down to me, since Daddy said that Mr Amoeba wasn’t allowed in the 105-degree heat – and cleaned out a corner. The entire attic is going to be a HUGE job – pulling it down, figuring out what it is, then deciding where it goes. Some things we recognized immediately, but others, we had no idea. It’s so frustrating, looking at the figurines or plates or knick-knacks, and not knowing where they came from or what their significance is. Daddy hasn’t a clue… only Mama would know what these things mean, and she’s gone. Truly frustrating – how I imagine that a person with amnesia might feel, like the memory’s there, but just out of reach.

We did find some treasures, though….

1) Antique washstand that was in my bedroom as a little girl. It’s now going to be in Baby Rettew’s nursery.
2) Antique desk where Jen and I used to do our homework. We’re going to clean it up for Maggie to use in a few years.
3) Basket that Mama made
4) Raggedy Ann & Andy bank that was mine. It’s still full of half dollars that my grandfather gave me when I was little. See, I was a penny-pinching nerd even then!

And the most exciting find of all…. a beautiful little glass pitcher etched with the name “Gladys Shuler” (our great-grandmother’s maiden name) and the date 1908. It’s Sue’s, but we’re keeping it safe in the china cabinet for now… Sue says she’s naming her first little girl Gladys :)

And then, to make our day of treasure-hunting complete, we stopped at a yard sale (of sorts) on our way home. It’s a giant collection of junk – pure junk – that sits there all the time, rain or shine. No one actually SELLS the stuff, or lives in the house – if you want to buy something (and actually pay for it), you call a phone number and someone comes to take your money. Interesting “selling” (or should I say “honor”?) system… only in the South!! :)