Day 1 – Sunday, Sept. 24
Arrived in Worland on Sunday afternoon after driving 400 miles north from Laramie, part-way through sleet. Ditto Mike and Sarah, my brother and sister-in-law. Tired. Decided to tackle storage garage in the morning, at a reasonable hour, meaning after Mike returns from the gym about 7 a.m. and after we have breakfast. Bless Sarah!!! She set up a guest bedroom near mine with extra lamps, a card table for sorting and a pile of heavy-duty trash bags. I was dreading sitting in that dark, dusty metal garage with the debris of my youth.
“Do you have a plan?” asked Mike as we drove his pick-up to the storage garage, which he’s been paying rent on. “I thought we could start with the small boxes first,” I said. We laughed. We hauled six grossly boxes home. I was still sneezing as Mike vacuumed the boxes in the ranch office and I carried them upstairs.
I poured more coffee, sliced open the closest carton and began. It was easy to toss out love letters. It was easy to throw out multiple copies of my news stories and magazine articles. It hard to throw away all of Mother’s letters. In fact, I didn’t.
Lunchtime: “How’s it going?” Mike wondered.
Two boxes down, three to go. (Not counting the pile of smelly cartons still in the storage garage.)
Drove to Powell, 93 miles north, for lunch and an oral history for the Washakie Museum with my Aunt Helen. Tried to return home via our headquarters ranch to the refurbishing of the original commissary, but road was too muddy to drive more than halfway up. Turned around. Saw three antelope. Relaxed back home and enjoyed Mike and Sarah’s company. Mike didn’t relax, it seems. He was justified in his concern.
Last day to work before I returned to DC. “These are your options,” Mike snapped at breakfast. “You don’t need to tell me,” I said calmly. “I’ve already figured out what to do.” I didn’t mention that I had lunch plans with one friend who is in fragile health and dinner plans with others.
We rammed over to the storage garage and started hauling the rest of the boxes into the pickup. OMG, I admitted. “I didn’t realize there were so many of them.!” Mike laughed. “What are you going to do with them?” he asked.
I laughed. “Call the high school.” I’d heard from the UPS lady that the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Club fund-raised and thus might be available. The secretary at Worland High School got the word out. Three honors students arrived in a pickup right after school. By then, I’d had a happy lunch and sorted through all the boxes, and filled a trash bag or two.
And, found a missing heirloom — a richly embroidered, deep rose silk scarf brought home from China in 1836 by George R. Sampson, who would become one of the famous clipper ship owners in Boston. The gigantic scarf from a gift to his sister, who was my grandmother’s grandmother.
By 5, the students and I gotten all of the boxes labeled and shipped from UPS and the Post Office. I begged the UPS to deliver them the very slowest way they could, even if it cost more. Not possible.
By 5:20, the students had loaded the gross boxes and trash bags to take to the dump. I raced to the shower. Changed into nice clothes and met friends for dinner.
Drove 500 miles to Denver. Good weather, Wyoming scenery at its finest, interesting Great Course on the Guilded Age and the Progressives.
UPS stacked 14 boxes outside my condo door.
I taped a notice on them alerting my neighbors that I’d move the boxes inside on Saturday when I had help.
Where the hell am I going to stash the boxes?