I dislike cleaning for Pesach, not only because it's hard on my knees and back, but because I always unearth something of personal value which becomes very emotional for me. I sometimes find myself sitting there by the just-unpacked-or-organized box, turning pages, or sifting through pictures, or looking through kids' toys/backpacks/schoolbags from Israel/drawings, tears coursing down my face.
Pesach cleaning, for me, is an emotional roller coaster. Today I was in our laundry/utility room, where we had boxes upon boxes of STUFF, belonging to the kids and us from way back, not unpacked since we sold our house and moved into our current rental town home six years ago.
Now, don't tell me that halachically I don't have to unpack those or look through them if I know we hadn't put chametz in them nor eaten near them--I know that! We needed to get rid of some boxes to make room there for other STUFF which we had piled up in other areas of the house which we needed to kasher for Pesach. That is why we were going through those boxes.
It was also a good opportunity to go through things to donate some of our unused STUFF to a charity such as Goodwill or ARC, and to that end we began filling up a bag. I was doing very well, until I came across--while not actually antiques in the denotative sense of the word--several really emotional items, to wit:
1) The dresses, size 6 and 4 respectively, which my 23-year old ("Toodles") and 21-year old ("Rambo") daughters wore to their oldest sister's ("Baby K'tan") wedding in 1994.
2) My younger son's ("Nathaniel Blumenstein") miniature bicycles and cyclist doll with its 2,000 various and sundry (practically microscopic) parts, such as handlebars and bike racks and wheels and pedals and...etc.
3) My aforementioned younger son's baseball, marked with his initials.
4) My kids' in-line skates, with shin guards and gloves and other related paraphernalia.
5) My older son's ("Mister Arnold Mayergi") star wars collection, complete with practically full-sized version of the Millenium Falcon (in addition to approximately 3,000 toy animals, aliens, alien-animals, weapons, alien-weapons and humans).
And then there were the most emotional of all: I found
6) My diary and poetry from 1960, and-
7) My mother's (a"h) book of original music & lyrics, which she had written together with her brother, my uncle (now very ill with Alzheimer's) in the 1940s.
And that is not to mention my old teaching materials from twenty-seven years ago, my elementary school year books (yes, I said elementary school, not high school) several of which I had drawn the covers of, and my drawings and sketchbooks.
After a good cry, I repacked my old teaching materials and yearbooks into a smaller box, including my mother's things (I might deal with that at a later date), and placed the kids' clothing, toys and skates where I can get at them when they are here for Pesach, to look through. They can then decide if there is something they want to take back to Israel, or that other state where my two daughters live (for now).
The Star Wars STUFF my older son can look at and reminisce, but it is too bulky to ship back to Israel now; it will probably have to wait until we go back with a lift.
But I got it done! And in addition, D.H. and I found some wall hanging STUFF, such as a ceramic plate with the word Shalom on it in Hebrew, English and Arabic, and a colorful Ten Commandments work of art made from iron which we hung on the wall.
All in all, I would venture to say that it was a productive day...er...three hours!
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