We did some spring cleaning a couple of weeks ago, because that’s what you do in the spring.
Clear out the drawers. Purge the piles. De-clutter the closets.
You never hear the expression “autumn cleaning.” Folks rarely tidy up when the winter winds are blowing. We prefer not to break extra sweat in the summertime. Fall is reserved for watching football, raking leaves, Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving plates and Christmas shopping. No time to take inventory for the next yard sale.
Spring is, by default, mandated for boxing up, throwing out and giving away. It’s amazing how much an attic can collect. In our garage, we have almost everything — but a car.
Last year’s paint cans. Hand-me-down garden tools. Outdated textbooks. Discarded furniture. Surplus plumbing supplies. Sewing fabric. Anti-freeze. Seldom-used golf clubs.
I told Delinda to expect a call from the producers of the TV show “Hoarders” any day.
In the throes of our spring cleaning we did, however, strike a vein of gold. A vintage toy store was tucked away in boxes.
I will give my wife credit. I am often critical of her penchant for never throwing anything away. This is a time I’m glad she didn’t.
Our three sons have long since outgrown the toys of their youth. After they hit the exit ramp of adolescence, she began filling storage containers with Brio train tracks, Fisher Price little people, plastic dinosaurs, Lincoln Logs and Tinker toys.
One day, she announced, we will have grandchildren.
And now we do. Three of them.
We were keeping the granddarlings at our house on Good Friday. That afternoon, we began the overwhelming task of trying to navigate through the roughly 98,317 items stored in the garage.
It may have been Easter weekend, but it felt like Christmas when I began dragging out plastic boxes filled with treasures. It was as if Santa had dropped by the neighborhood on his way to the beach for spring break.
We re-discovered the Fisher Price schoolhouse, castle, parking garage, barn, castle and McDonald’s (with a playground). We wiped off the antique wooden blocks and “Dennis the Menace” lunch box that survived at least three moves.
Brewer turned 4 years old in February. Sterling Gray will be 3 on the last day of July. They have a newborn little sister, Ginny Pope, who is 10 weeks old. Although she’s not quite old enough to bring out the baby dolls, we’re ready when she’s ready.
There has been great joy in watching Brewer and Sterling Gray play with toys covered with the fingerprints of their father and uncles.
Companies don’t make toys like they used to make them – without batteries, joysticks and microchips. Back when kids would play outside most of the day, toys were powered by imagination, a different kind of “gaming.” You pushed them, rolled them and made them fly through air. You invented your own voices and created the noises you expected them to make.
About the only buttons were the knobs on an Etch-a-Sketch. Remember Play Dough and Silly Putty, Yo-Yos and Slinkys?
Those were classics. In this disposable society we live in, I find comfort in being old-fashioned and sentimental. We were retro before retro was cool.
The other day, Brewer followed me to the garage. He stood behind me, admiring how much at been cleared away from the corners and shelves after our spring cleaning work-in-progress.
“Gris,” he asked. “Can we find some more toys?”
Ed Grisamore teaches journalism and creative writing at Stratford Academy in Macon. His column appears on Sundays in The Telegraph.