My grandma on my dad's side was the most amazing pack rat I've ever known.
At their house, she had stuff piled everywhere. The bathroom had about a
million knitted dealies- toilet paper holders, toilet seat covers, jars with
knitting around them, knitted things hanging from the ceiling… The stairs
had junk piled on the sides, so you had to walk carefully through the middle
as not to knock down a stack and piss her off. The upstairs had stacks of
hatboxes and old clothes. Apparently, when someone in the family died she
would take all the junk that would normally go to the Goodwill. I can
understand keeping some items to remember the person by, but she went a
little overboard. It was as if she expected them to come back from the dead
and demand their stuff back. Her packratitude was rivaled only by my dad,
who kept every book he ever read in the basement, along with tons of other
junk. When my brother died, he started piling his worthless crap in Jeff's
room, which completely annoyed me. However, I have been carrying on the
tradition, in spite of myself.
Since my brother's room was turning into a junk pile anyway, I cleaned it
out and kept a bunch of his funny t-shirts, his old video game system,
presents I gave him, etc. Every time I look at his stuff, I think, he
doesn't care about this anymore, why should I? Nevertheless, it gives me
some kind of comfort to have these things that were his. Stuff doesn't leave
you. Stuff is always the same, always waiting for you, never insensitive and
hurtful (unless you pile it up too high and it falls on you). Ah, stuff.
It's so stable. Yet, I feel so free when it is packed up in boxes and I
don't have to look at it. When the apocalypse comes, it will just be burned
up or destroyed somehow, and all I'll have left is a large gun and a
motorcycle I picked up somewhere, and a strategically ripped outfit that
distracts zombies for the split second I need to blow them away.