I am not one for spring cleaning. Our house gets a weekly once over and I usually give it a good cleaning before our family reunion weekend in July, when my cousin stays with us, and around the holidays, when the house is redecorated in fine holiday décor. I used to do spring cleaning, but things have a habit of disappearing around here whenever I clean. Things just seem to vanish and I get tired of trying to track down the misplaced items. I don’t know if my memory is failing or if I just have too much stuff, but I really do spend a lot of time trying to locate things. This phenomenon even happens to Joe in his domain, the garage. On the bright side, I now look at cleaning as an adventure since I often find the things that I lost several seasons before, when I am not even looking for them.
During one cleaning frenzy I misplaced a feather duster, a hammer, and all of our certified documents—birth certificates, Social Security cards, baptism and marriage certificates. Yes, I misplaced all of our important documents. They were all in an efficient folder in a closet, on the same shelf they had been stored on for years. In my infinite wisdom I decided they should be moved to a new, better location. It was not until several months later, when I needed those documents for a project, that I could not remember where that new location was. I looked all over the house for them and finally gave up the search, believing that they had been thrown out by accident. I went so far as to replace all of the documents I could. I acquired new Social Security cards, new birth certificates, and everything else I could replace. But some items were irreplaceable. The whole folder finally turned up about a year later when I was cleaning the basement. I don’t know why I put them in the basement. Perhaps I thought they would be more secure down there in the event of a tornado. It would have been a different story if the basement had flooded. That search had a happy ending, but the feather duster and hammer have yet to turn up.
Over the past few months my office had become quite cluttered. Just about every horizontal surface had become storage for papers, books or photos. That included the largest horizontal surface area in the room, the floor. In fact, the floor was probably the worst. I could barely walk through the room.
It was organized clutter, though. I pretty much knew what was in every pile and I could even find what I wanted fairly quickly. This type of organization often occurs when I am doing a lot of research. I pull out books and binders and don’t put them back because I know I will be looking at them again soon. Most are temporarily filed on the floor. But the stacks had gotten too big. Along with the piles of binders there were newspaper clippings, notes, photos, copies, and other items that needed to be sorted and filed. Yes, it was time to clean my office.
So, knowing the drill around here, and knowing that I would probably “lose” something during the cleaning, I hoped that what I would find would outweigh what I would misplace. I thought of it as a search and recovery mission. I had high expectations that I would find some papers and photos that I had not been able to locate recently. I was not disappointed. Here is what I came up with:
The Rueck family information [Too bad I couldn’t locate this last year when I applied for the new OGS lineage society, Century Families of Ohio. The land deed I found showed that Jacob and Regina Rueck were living in Van Wert County in 1881, which would have qualified them for CFO. They will just have to be supplementals next year.]
2 photos of Maggie & Christina Rueck
Proof that Hallot Bryan was the son of Peter Bryan [Wahoo! To my Brewster, Miller, and Bryan relatives– we have another Civil War soldier in the family.]
Jeff’s AP Style book that he wants back
A large old Schumm Reunion photo
A Brewster research report compiled by a researcher several years ago
Some things I need to give back to Miriam
Some old negatives [Important, because I cannot find the photos.]
All in all it was a successful cleaning day. My office looks much better. I can walk across the floor now without tripping and files and binders are in their new, efficient locations. And best of all, so far nothing seems to be missing.
As for the missing feather duster and hammer, I have determined that they are not in my office. I haven’t a clue where they could be. I guess I should keep on cleaning. Maybe they will still turn up this spring.