On Sunday evening, we tried a movie suggested to us by our friend Rose, ‘Hello, My Name is Doris.’ It was kind of against our better judgment as it was the story of a sixty-something woman (played by Sally Field) who is seemingly egged on by a self-help guru into pursuing her younger co-worker (played by Max Greenfield). Since we are sixty-something, it is almost too close to home. The plot seems odd but as it turns out, the movie was quite good.
One of the issues of the sixty-something protagonist, who was at odds with her brother and his spouse following the death of their mom, was the hoarding going on in the family home. Brother and spouse were interested in selling the home, out from under the feet of the woman who had given her life to take care of their mother and even put her own happiness on hold.
The hoarding made me think of my mom. We had brought her to Chicago in 2003 because of a better living situation as she was having issues with memory, was not able to handle the day to day tasks of routine home maintenance, like snow removal, and was finding it more and more difficult to get out and take care of food and cooking.
Thanks to a good friend here in Chicago (my New Trier colleague, Judy Gressel), I was able to find a real estate person (good friend of Judy) in Cleveland who was able to sell off the crazy stuff my mom had hoarded from 1959 to 2003 in her strange ‘Parma Cape Cod home,’ the one that could not hold paint because of what seemed to be green wood and which had the worst kitchen and eating arrangement of any home I have ever seen.
My mother was the most organized hoarder I have ever met. She was also a clean freak. The biggest problem for her was her mobility as she had knee replacement and then little by little went downhill in that arena. Once in our area, she was really knocked for a loop by losing her balance, holding on to a metal, accordion-like folding door, and falling as it came off its tracks and knocked her down, breaking her hip. I complained vociferously to the Federal Housing people of the apartment complex she lived in that we could really have filed a lawsuit for that.
I took pictures to document the hoarding. It is hard to believe. Okay, not as bad as what we have all seen on the news, but bad, nonetheless.