Neighborhood Pack Rat

You know our kind. We save everything, just in case.

I might need that someday.

I’m going to wear that size again.

That thing on the side of the road still has use left in it, and it’s free.

That has a good memory for me.

Who keeps stuff that evokes bad memories? No one, not even a pack rat.

I was raised by a pack rat who, in turn, was raised by a pack rat. But Grandma had to be one. She lived through the Great Depression, so every rubber band, twisty tie, plastic bag and piece of foil was saved to be reused. Oh, don’t forget wrapping paper! She was a recycle queen long before it was trendy.

Now, in the time of Corona, that might not be such a good idea. I throw out my paper grocery store bags now, just in case.

I had a sewing business for twelve years. I started out as an antique store but quickly morphed into a costume shop. Then I closed the shop and went online, dressing school children for history field trips across America.

Because of my historical clothing business, I was always sifting through thrift stores one day a week to find old-fashioned looking anything — cotton dresses and blouses, plaid farmer shirts for boys, straw hats, suspenders and aprons, lots and lots of aprons.

While at those thrift stores, I would hit up the sewing corner and buy notions at huge discounts from what they charge at fabric stores – thread, elastic, hem tape, bias tape, fabric, trims, eyelet, buttons, etc.

Yesterday I cleaned my sewing room. I had the whole rainy day to fill, so after I walked the dogs to beat the storm, I started in on sorting the mess. I found so much stuff I’d misplaced or forgotten about.  I had enough thread for a tiny village in Ecuador.  The donation bags are piling up. I even found a whole plastic container of elastic.

So when the neighbor asked for elastic because her cousin was making everyone face masks, I actually had some ¼ inch wide stuff to give her.

She texted at 8:00 a.m.

I found the elastic at 1:30 p.m.,

read her text at 3:00 p.m.,

and she picked it up from my porch by 4:00 pm.

Even Amazon doesn’t deliver that fast, and they’re sold out.

This is the neighbor who took in my newspapers for a week. Another neighbor brought me avocados and granola bars from Costco. The older couple on the corner went the other way with their loose dog when they saw me outside playing ball with mine.

Yes, we are social distancing. I left the Costco grocery money in a children’s book I had just reviewed so the mom of three daughters would get a gift with the $17.00 I owed her.

I have good neighbors. They are here to help me, the second oldest lady on the court since the lady next door moved into a rest home. I, in turn, help them. I take my dogs away for a week at a time, and they get a break from the barking.  I let the little girls throw the ball to Daisy, although right now they are staying away from me.

And I am the one to call for quarter-inch elastic.

Sometimes it’s good to have a packrat on the court.

Judging from the garage across the street, there might be two of us.




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