Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson here, confessing one of my greatest sins—I’m a lousy housekeeper. If this wasn’t already obvious, it became blindingly apparent the other day when I decided to haul out the things stored beneath our bed as a continuation of the general weeding we began a few months ago when we were making room to install an upstairs half bath. It’s truly astonishing how many things can be put aside and forgotten just because they might “still have some good in them.” We tossed everything from ancient sweatshirts to moth-eaten blankets, to old electronics that haven’t worked for decades. But I digress.
We sleep in a nineteenth-century bed that was a wedding gift from my in-laws. It has elaborately carved head and foot boards and is much higher off the floor than most modern beds. There is lots of space underneath for storage. Our policy has been to shove it under there and forget it. Judging by the thickness of the layer of dust, it has been at least a decade, maybe more, since anything was pulled back out.
Let the treasure hunt begin.
Yes, that is what you think it is, a utilitarian piece of equipment we lovingly dubbed “the world’s largest chamber pot.” When we used to go camping in a pop-up camper, it went along. Let’s face it. No one likes to go traipsing through a wooded campground just to visit the comfort station in the middle of the night. After dusting, it went back under the bed. Yes, we have an upstairs bath now, but there are still those occasions when the power goes out, taking the pump with it. No pump, no water. It doesn’t happen often, but we can still remember the blizzard of ’98 when the entire state was without power for most of a week. We’re keeping the chamber pot.
Next up came the first of several suitcases containing old uniforms—bagpipe band, U.S. Navy, and Franklin County sheriff’s department. This first one used to be used, back when I was a kid, to hold hair rollers and clips for pin curls. Boy does that date me! Contents intact, these three suitcases went back under the bed, too.
I didn’t know what to expect when I pulled out the old green suitcase that belonged to my mother. It turned out to be a suitcase full of smaller suitcases. This was a nice set back in the day, but it’s way too heavy to lug on a trip now. These, and another suitcase-in-suitcase are going to the “share shack” at the transfer station. Maybe someone’s doing a play set in the 1980s?
Finally there was the mystery suitcase. I had a vague memory of storing it under the bed after my late mother-in-law gave it to us. I don’t even want to think about how many years ago that was. Anyway, it turns out to contain boxes of slides taken by my late brother-in-law. Some folks reading this probably don’t even know what slides are. Fortunately, since my father was also an avid photographer who left behind negatives, prints, and slides, I actually own a slide projector. We’re going to take a look at these soon, assuming the bulb in the slide projector still works. If it doesn’t, replacing it could well be my next challenge. Anyone know an easy, preferably inexpensive way to convert slides into either snapshots that can be scanned or digital photos?
Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett is the author of over fifty books written under several names. She won the Agatha Award for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category for “The Blessing Witch.” Currently she writes the contemporary Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries (Kilt at the Highland Games) as Kaitlyn and the historical Mistress Jaffrey Mysteries (Murder in a Cornish Alehouse ~ UK in December 2016; US in April 2017) as Kathy. The latter series is a spin-off from her earlier “Face Down” series and is set in Elizabethan England. Her websites are www.KaitlynDunnett.com and www.KathyLynnEmerson.com