Like many older folks who had grown up in the Great Depression; she held onto her possessions no matter how trivial for fear that she might lose it all again. I have noticed this with some of my other relatives that many hold onto old blouses, trophies, mugs, or sports equipment justifying it through "having a collection". No one needs 1,753 golf balls but you do if you know how hard you had to work to own them.
Sometimes one needs to get out and stretch, yesterday we could see why. We moved CH's grandma out of the apartment apartment she had been living in for nearly 40 years. Experiences like this are hard to come by. There couldn't have been a better way to learn about the family I am marrying into. We packed up all of her belongings, heirlooms from Korea-before they immigrated to Sao Paulo, and a thousand books or so. Each layer, shelf, drawer, was like an onion, peeling up her past and reminding the family of the beautiful days spent together in this beautiful home they had created.
Each drawer contained a multitude of memories: a pin, a brooch, a handkerchief, cassette tapes holding "their song". Each treasure with a story- Some without- like a receipt that could not be read. One surprise was a box full of letters. This box was busting at the seems as it was too full to hold each individually stamped, addressed, and hand written ink letter. These letters were some of the oldest memories discovered as they were the letters she had received when she first arrived to Brazil. Every I miss you, good luck with your new life, I hope nothing but success for you; is still documented, still saved, kept cherished. Many of the authors of those hand written messages of good will are no longer living. Many of those friends and family were never seen again and came back when found in a box under box of golf balls that hadn't been touched in 40 plus years.