me, a hoarder? (part 1)

When I was about 37 years old my maternal grandmother, Goldie, suffered a massive stroke resulting in her final years living in a nursing home. At the time I considered it an honor that the family asked me to handle her final affairs including preparing for an estate sale to settle her financial obligations.

Goldie was a hoarder unlike any I have ever known. She filled her house, the same one I grew up in as a young boy, from cellar to attic with STUFF. Grandma Goldie’s house was a generational house, one in which great-grandparents, grandparents, children and assorted aunts lived harmoniously (most of the time). To accommodate all these relatives, a large house was necessary. My memories include two living rooms, two dining rooms, two oversized kitchens on the first floor, seven bedrooms and two closets that could easily convert to bedrooms, and a single bathroom on the second floor. Additionally, we had a basement and ground cellar which was great for storing the year’s harvest of potatoes (not talking about bushels; rather, tons of potatoes) and bushels of cabbage. Oh yes, I almost forgot the attic. This was where Grandma kept all the stuff that she might need someday.

In the attic, shared by bats and wasps alike, I stumbled upon various treasures along with miscellaneous junk. Goldie cut into snippets old coats for area rugs, old dresses for patching and quilts and other scraps which only God knew how Grandma had planned to use. I sorted through all her treasures and created two piles – truly trash for the burn pit and other stuff that fools at an estate auction might buy. Both piles were huge.

The day of the estate auction arrived. It was a beautiful Saturday in April. The crowds began arriving early, lined the highway for miles on either side with their cars and pickup trucks. One would have to be raised in an old Pennsylvania Dutch community to understand the significance of an estate auction. Not only neighbors who were mostly curious, but also family members who hoped to snag a family momento and antique dealers from as far as Philadelphia and New York City would attend these events to buy things for other folks to fill their houses.

Only a few family members knew that I, the grandson Larry, had spent a full week of 12-hour days sorting through Goldie’s stuff, cleaning it and arranging it in the downstairs rooms on tables for pre-auction viewing. I, the grandson Larry, also arranged for security on the day of the sale. Not all the attendees were honest, virtuous people and many of the smaller items were worth hundreds of dollars.

Two auctioneers were contracted to conduct the sale. They began at 8 o’clock sharp, pounded the gavel for the final item at 4:30 that afternoon. Undoubtedly, those fellows earned their commission that Saturday in April. And I, the grandson Larry, learned a valuable lesson about hoarding. At some point in a man’s life, he has to be accountable for all the stuff he chooses to store in his house.

Therefore, to answer the question posed by the title of this post. “Hell no, I am not a hoarder. If it doesn’t have a purpose and a use in this house, it will be donated to the thrift store.” A bit of wisdom, certainly not from Grandma, said, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

Words to live by.

“pig in the python”



“sharp statistical increase represented as a bulge in an otherwise level pattern.”

young, mature, old

Picture a python that has just eaten a pig.  We are the bulge in that python’s belly.  We are the baby boomers.  Born between 1946 and 1964, we were part of the phenomenal birth rate increase following the end of WWII.  Life in the USA was good.  It was a time of jobs, prosperity, security, enforced peace, a resumption of  families supported by dads returning from the sacrifices of war time.

We grew up with the images of “Ozzie & Harriet”, “Leave it to Beaver”, “Father Knows Best” teaching us how life should be.  Beginning in 1959 we watched 14 seasons of the Cartwrights on “Bonanza” showing us how ‘real men’ lived.  Back then the “Nightly News” was a reporting of factual events rather than an attempt to entertain or politicize.

Our parents intended for us to have it all, a better life than they had.  Job security was the norm enabling dad to spend his entire career with one employer.  Mom stayed at home keeping house, prepared great home-cooked meals for her loved ones, chaired the local PTA, drank socially with her Wednesday afternoon card club.  Junior and Sis went to segregated schools, attended sock hops on Saturday night, dreamed of being the prom King and Queen, prepared for college and an independent life with families of their own.

Remember those days?  Me neither.  Here’s how it really was.  Bobby’s dad was escaping to the city on ‘business trips’ to meet the young, hot secretary from the office for a few hours of sex.  Betty’s mom was sneaking martinis every afternoon before the kids came home from school.  Junior was getting high with his friends and Sis was given to bobbing in the back seat of her boy friend’s car.

And we became emancipated.  Woodstock, the Beatles, the Doors, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam war protesters, the political corruption all met within the 1960s to create a generation of young people unwilling to accept the status quo.  We were called radical and degenerate for rejecting ‘Ozzie & Harriet’ and the ‘Cartwrights’, following, instead, a desperate departure from our parents’ dreams.  Much of that idealism was relinquished with the passing years, and most of us settled into responsible adult relationships and behaviors just like mom and dad.  But, a few of us became ‘forever dropouts’.

My name is Larry and I am a baby boomer.  Today marks my 73rd birthday.  Still haven’t figured out if I’m still a dropout or just an anti-social senior citizen.


my coloring book


Remember your coloring books from years past?  Bugs Bunny, Casper the Ghost, Sleeping Beauty?  Great, creative pastimes for young minds.  I became very adept at staying within the lines, using appropriate colors, and displaying my masterpieces on the refrigerator.  It is, even today, a wonderful pacifier for tumultuous times.  We now have digital coloring books.

Well folks, coloring books
ain’t what they used to be.
Below are examples of
what is now available for the parent
who wants his/her child to grow up with……..

the right stuff


…….be sure to order yours now just in time for the 2020 elections


the American way – part 2

Truly folks, I thought that yesterday when I posted my ‘letter to the editor’ regarding soaring gun sales in my community, I had tempered my anger and my juices would mellow out.


Today’s Google news feed showed a man packing a military style weapon while ordering a sandwich at his local Subway.  Really??

Maybe he’s skeered that the big Subway salami will wrestle him to the floor and have it’s way with his cute, little ……oops, sorry.  I promised to be a little more spiritual today.

Maybe he’s on his way to a rally for his favorite politician?

Maybe he just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan?

Maybe he’s a spokesperson for Remington?

Naaaaw, I like my 1st thought….he’s a wuss frightened by the Subway salami.


Chinese ingenuity ?

So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.

A right-wing sanctioned, Limbaugh-inspired, home-spun supported, neighborhood-disseminated theory of the origins of covid-19 is that the Chinese government somehow is using this virus to gain control of financial markets and put the rest of the consuminglaughing emoji3 world under their control.  Thus, we suffering Americans are experiencing toilet paper shortages at our local stores.

Hurrah for the Chinese.  They are thumping us where it hurts.  Best way to win the trade wars is to force the world to use corn cobs in the loo.  I can just imagine those tiny hands and smiling faces in Peking factories singing, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, Oh what a relief it is.”

What’s that you say?  “Larry, you’ve gone bonkers with all this social isolation, that’s the Alka Seltzer song.”  Hmmmm, think about it for a moment – plop, plop, splash, splash, oh what a relief….

Sorry, folks.  Rational thinking, truth and intelligence cannot counter the bull crap cropped-laughing-emoji2.pngfloating around my neighborhood (sorry, there I go again with this insane train of thought).  Seriously, there is no relief to the stupidity to which some Americans will stoop to promote their conspiracy du-jour.


I   AM   LARRY – worthy, unique, loved

unshackled 3

it was a very good year

When I was a little boy and did foolish things, they smiled and called me cute.  young, mature, oldWhen I was thirty-five and did foolish things, they admired and called me adventurous.  Now that I am an old man doing foolish things, they roll their eyes and call me senile.  I just don’t get it.  Make up your mind.



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