Adventures in (garage) archeology

The notices arrived several days ago; this week is the scheduled semi-annual City Brush Pick-Up for our part of town. The piles of brush & tree limbs (some of them impressively high) have been appearing apace, attesting to our neighbors’ industry. Tom got busy this Saturday; with clippers and limb saw (and valuable assistance from our daughter and 3 1/2 month old grand-daughter), he gave our crepe myrtles and redbud trees a much needed grooming and constructed a rather impressive brush pile of our very own. Of course, here in Texas, “brush” is understood to be a very broad and flexible term – it seems to include any and all old, broken or replaced items one might ever find in or around a domicile. Broken fencing, rusty tricycles, defunct water heaters and the like have been joining the leaves and limbs in curbside piles. These nagging visual cues finally prompted me to suggest something rash & foolish, not to mention physically challenging; we should spend Sunday attempting the first in-depth clean-up our *two-car* garage has received in 20 + years!

To set the stage, the garage hasn’t actually been capable of holding two cars simultaneously since…….oh, 1993? There has always been a bank of hardware-&-tool shelving to the left, a large chest freezer ahead and an old-but-trusty Shopsmith saw to the right, requiring the car doors to be rather short in width to allow both drivers egress from their cars! Our Blazer S-10 and Plymouth Reliant were the last “team” to fit that profile. However, the parking corridor between ever-accumulating Stuff has been narrowing for a looong time! You know the story; we might fix that table fan – put it in the garage, we might use the left-over wood from our shelf building project, put it in the garage, etc. Twenty-plus years of “etc.” was awaiting us out there- gulp!

It has rained somewhere in San Antonio (or the Hill Country, just north of us) every day for the past 47 days. Yesterday, when we both would have welcomed a cooling shower or a good drenching as we made countless trips from garage to curb-side, it stayed dry. Could have been worse;could have been the normal July weather pattern of 99-101 degrees F, no shade and 87% humidity! We lucked out with 78 degrees F, heavy cloud cover and 87% humidity. LOL!

Our archeological adventure led us through many layers of our family’s history in this house. The top layer was “known territory” – boxes of old magazines and out-of-date computer program manuals, a lifeless wireless keyboard, window blinds, curtain rods and left-over bits/chunks/panels of wood from projects we’ve completed over the past few years. Almost everything below the Recent History layer was a bit of a surprise. “Oh, look – there’s the pay telephone!”  “Ahh, that’s where the Pachinko machine was hiding!”  “Hmmm, I didn’t remember that we owned two Pachinko machines! When did that one arrive?” “Yes, that bunch of wood can go; it’s left-over from a project Thomas did in college.” (Note: Thomas is now 30!) 

With frequent, heavily laden excursions to the growing pile at the curb, we delved into deeper layers of family life. Several boxes of paperback books appeared; silent testimony to my passion for reading, now sadly weathered by mumbletwentysomethingmumble years near the garage door. Chilton manuals for cars we haven’t owned in years, as well as the ’87 Blazer Thomas sold just a few days ago. (Oops!) “Oh, look – there’s the compressor your Dad gave you!” “Gee, I thought I had sold that display unit when I stopped doing miniatures shows!” We unearthed another stash of wood, of course. “Hehe – there’s Shannon’s skateboard!” (She was, maybe, 12 years old when she last played with that? She’s now 33!) “Wow! I haven’t worked on that afghan in, umm, well, too many years.” Still more wood – geesh! (Remnants of one of Thomas’ high school projects, perhaps?) “Can you remember who had the aquarium in their room?” “What do you suppose this power cord went with?” Hot and dusty, we finally stacked the last 999 piece jig-saw puzzle (originally 1000 pieces), retired toolbox and odd scrap of plywood (yep – more wood!) on our “pack-rat’s shrine” and retreated triumphantly indoors. It was an interesting and successful “dig”.

>>>>Now the fascinating phenomenon of the shrinking trash pile begins. < <<< There, near the left-hand edge of the mass, there are two plastic storage bins. See them? Oh, they're not there anymore - -someone moved them to their garage, because they might come in handy!  The compressor (45-55 years old?) has left the stack – -someone obviously thinks they might be able to recondition it. I wonder if the lifeless computer keyboard will still be here when the City truck arrives? Come to think of it, didn’t B. have a ceramic pig among his cast-offs yesterday? It’s gone now – adopted by someone who really needed a ceramic pig – LOL!!Goodnight all – I’m taking my collection of sore, tired muscles to bed!

One Response to “Adventures in (garage) archeology”

  1. Miram Blackburn says:

    I don’t know if we are kin, but hope so. Your wit and writing skill and wonderful use of language are very charming and I have really enjoyed reading your pieces.
    I am doing genealogy research and stumbled across your site while digging for Blackburn rels. in Texas. There sure are a lot of Blackburns there.
    Keep up the good work.
    Miriam Blackburn

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