Don’t Sell My Stuff


IMG_1199If you’ve not heard the story, Kobe Bryant’s mother is planning to auction his stuff.  He’s mad.  She’s claiming he left it at her house, and she’s been paying storage for years.  She needs the cash.  Family dynamics aside, just who among us hasn’t had a version of this argument?

Monday was one of those days for The Pink Flamingo.  I got a kick out of the Kobe Bryant story, simply because of the years my mother spent nagging requesting my sister and I remove our things from her house in Fair Play.  She was going to dump it when they moved.  She didn’t.  The movers packed it up and it’s sitting in either a storage unite near moi, or in the White Elephant, my father’s $100K storage ‘shed’ and office. (That’s now an extra guest room and will be used for nurses, when we need them, so that sorta worked out).  That’s not the narrative, it’s about holding on to things, having them disposed of, and having other people use what isn’t really theirs.

I look at it in one of two ways.  My research and writing is good enough to be used, without citing me.  The bad news is that the author who did it made out quite well financially.  She has been wined, dined, interviewed on CSPAN for an hour, and is making money on playing fast and lose with the facts – other peoples’ stuff.

On Monday, one of the things I did was do the meals on wheels thing for my parents.  I spent five hours cooking yesterday, so my mother could have a break.  When I was down at their house, listening to her explain why Princess Sadie (their Bichon) had gained so much weight, I told her about the Kobe Bryant story.  Before I go any farther, Sadie is gaining weight because my father gets up in the middle of the night, for a snack.  He eats a cookie, and Sadie eats a cookie.  He has peanuts and Sadie has peanuts, etc. etc. etc.  Alzheimer’s works quite well when you are a mooching 5 year old Bichon.

My mother started laughing about some very dear friends of ours, who are no longer with us.  When Tim and Bonnie were ready to move here to New Mexico, from Dallas, Bonnie did not have room for her grown childrens’ things.  So, she and Tim boxed them up, and called, telling them she was putting everything by the big trash bin, at the edge of the drive.  The garbage would be collected within the hour.  She hung up and watched.  Furious with her, all four converged on the house within fifteen minutes, taking everything home with them.

And so… “When are you going to go through the things you have next door.  If you would get rid of what you don’t want, I could move things from the storage unite and save that money.”  Never mind I’m putting my 1988 LeBaron Convertible Series B with the Maserati chassis there in the storage unit as soon as I can afford to have it moved from my carport to storage.  It is in nearly perfect condition – I’ve kept it that way…

“If you sister doesn’t come get things, I’m giving them to the church for the garage sale.”

“What do you think the girls would like?  They need to come go through things, or I’m giving them away.”

The threats get old.  She’s not going to give anything away. If she had, she would have done so, decades ago.  My mother even has a box, still, with a collection of plastic bed-pans collected from her numerous hospital stays.  You think she’s going to get rid of a set of old pots and pans or china?  My mother?

When does a person’s stuff they had as a child become the property of their parents?   Does it ever become the parent’s property?  Let’s face it, this is about respect, plain and simple.  It’s also about love, kindness, and caring about a person enough to treasure their treasures.

Then again I come from a family of legendary pack rats.  When the parents moved from South Carolina to New Mexico they not only brought with them 56 years of living, but things that belonged to my mother’s parents.  Then there were the things that belonged to my father’s mother’s family.  I swear, they never threw a durn thing away.  When you’re dealing with day by day memorabilia from the turn of the 19th Century and earlier, that is now a very good thing – if you want to endow a private museum.

There’s no way you can get rid of the 1880s trunk filled with generations of wedding dresses, my great-grandfather Froehlich’s long johns, and things like that.  You don’t get rid of 150 years of family photos.  You don’t get rid of the 17th century dresser that came over on the Mary & John not too long after the first Mayflower landing.   So – you get rid of the junque.  The problem is – that’s my junk!  When my 5 month old niece is my age, it will be worth something!

It’s about respect and tradition.  Let’s face it Kobe Bryant’s mother is coming across as a bitch.  I can’t imagine her spending $1200 a month to have it stored.  If so, bill him, don’t sell his treasures. She must really be pissed with him.

I should add that, after the recent fire scare here (2 years ago) I took advantage of my mother’s good graces to send a pick-up load of Sterlite boxes down to the White Elephant for storage. I also sent 2200 antique photos I’m using for a book.  I think there may be a half dozen boxes of Christmas ornaments.  I might have sent some furniture I wasn’t using.  (She is using my grandmother’s hutch in her TV room, so she can’t complain about that).  I don’t know what she wants.  I gave her a couple bottles of really good Kenwood, Jack London cab to make up for the inconvenience.

Look, I kept that one set of paper dolls here, in Aunt Mabel’s God Knows When chest. She can’t complain about that.  Thinking back on it, it could be the set of Cuisinart cookware I stored in the White Elephant, taking up quite a bit of storage space.  That might have pushed her over the top, as well as a heck of a lot of plastic picnic ware.  My sister took the Cuisinart with her last summer.  Can’t be that, can it?
I bet it was the set of lamps I’m not using.I can see how Kobe would be a little riled up about things.  I get annoyed just thinking that my mother might donate a box of cooking utensils I took town there two years ago.  No, Rachel took those home with her – I think.IMG_1206Okay, so it is funny.  I must add, though, that many of the items you see piled up in this photo now reside at my sister’s home in Memphis.  The stuff on the shelves is still on the shelves.  I suspect it will be on the shelves until Kobe Bryant’s mother comes to put it up for auction.

P. S.  I don’t know what my mother’s going to do when I get someone to help me haul two huge packing barrels of Star Wars and Star Trek memorabilia down to her house!  I suspect that could be the straw that breaks her camel’s back.  Somewhere in one of those boxes are the ticket stubs from all the games I saw Hank Aaron play.  I also have about 100 of those old Burger King Star Wars glasses.  I need to sell those.  I wonder if anyone wants a backing barrel of space shuttle press memorabilia?My mother wouldn’t get rid of that stuff, would she?

FYI, when last I spoke to my mother, she’d just finished drinking half a bottle of 1978 Buena Vista Private Reserve Cab.  She was quite mellow.