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A hiding place for family junk

January 28, 2016
By Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican

Every family has one. It's the last resting place of all the mini junk that filters through our lives. And, it's aptly called "the Family Junk Drawer."

No one ever plans for a junk drawer. A young wife touring her new kitchen doesn't stop and say, "Hey, Arnold, how about making this nice space beside the stove our Junk Drawer?"

It's an unplanned area that just seems to evolve over time.

For families with larger homes, the junk area might be a whole closet devoted to junk (remember Fibber Magee's closet?). The ultimate, of course, is to use an entire room for the items considered no longer necessary, yet too good to discard.

But, no matter what the size of the junk depository, it's a vital part of the family's life.

During my growing-up years, our family of six didn't actually have a junk drawer. Instead, we had a China fruit bowl that held a place of honor in the center of our dining room table. Over time, the covered bowl became the final resting place of all manner of small items from glue-less postage stamps and matchbooks to lost buttons and the missing piece of the last jigsaw puzzle we assembled.

The bowl itself was one of Mom's favorite auction purchases. It was crafted to look like a wicker basket heaped with various pieces of almost-real fruit: grapes, apples, pears and oranges. At the very top of the fruit mound was a realistic lemon, serving as a handle to the lid.

As the youngest member of the family, I didn't find the bowl itself half as interesting as the treasures hidden inside. On a rainy day, I could spend long periods of time at the dining table, happily digging through the junk that had accumulated in the little hideaway.

I'd manage to avoid the straight pins and paper clips in my search for the stray penny or nickel Mom tossed into the bowl while cleaning out pockets on laundry day.

And, at one time or another, every member of the family had rummaged through the contents of the junk bowl in search of a stamp or two. If any ended up in the jumbled recesses, they would be without glue, having been soaked from an envelope. But with a dab of adhesive, the stamps would carry a letter across the country.

As the last member of my family, I still have the China fruit bowl. And, even now, it serves as home to a small, random collection of odds and ends.

But today, our family has graduated to an entire drawer designated for junk.

This space is part of our television cabinet, making it a handy dumping place for all manner of bits and pieces of family life. There are some coupons for grocery items, a magnet with the phone number of our favorite pizza place, several clothespins and a Scotch tape dispenser.

There are other items hidden away in the corners of the drawer, but it's been a while since I made an inventory. After all, a junk drawer, by its very nature is a place of mystery.

Eventually, when time has passed and the accumulation has made opening and closing the drawer a problem, I'll put aside some time.say half a dayand go through the items that have gathered there.

With luck, I'll find a few coins and, perhaps, even a stamp or two.



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