It’s Not Just Junk Removal

It’s Not Just Junk Removal

A few months ago, I blogged about EJ in Luggerland, a kind of tongue in cheek recount of my day in the life of a lugger, that day was filled with jobs of junk to be carted away, cardboard to be recycled and furniture to be donated. Today, I witnessed the other side of what we do; a house clean out set up by a brother and sister for their widowed dad who was recently moved to a nursing home.

This was the house that they grew up in; their childhood bedrooms, the kitchen table they ate their meals at every night, where they learned how to walk, where they got that nasty scar on their knee, where they made their plans for the future and where they slept safely every night for years. This was the only home they knew until they made their own homes with their own families as adults. Today they were there to see the last of the items carted away before the house is scheduled for demolition. In speaking to the sister, she shared with me stories of the “olden days”, pointing out items and what they meant to her and her family. I went with her on her journey down memory lane. The parties they had, the way her brother snuck up the chimney and knocked on her window to let him in when he was out past curfew, their childhood dog that lived a long 16 ½ years, and where they buried him in the back yard.

Red BikeShe shared with me who her parents were; generous and benevolent souls who would be pleased to know that their things were not just going to be thrown away, but donated and recycled instead. It would be so in the vein of their character and the way they lived that others would benefit from their furniture to make new memories of their own. She imagined a young family in need accepting and appreciating that kitchen table and chairs, as she remembered her family sitting around that table. “The stories that table could tell,” she said with a hint of mischief and nostalgia in her eye. “Now it will learn new stories with a new family”.

The house was built in 1910. Their family had been in it since 1946. “Many happy ghosts roam these rooms,” she said looking around. She talked about how her parents always had an open door to everyone and that it was like a party everyday in their house. What a wonderful way to grow up. I watched her face simply glow with the happy images that were certainly dancing in her head. She picked up a small hand stitched wreath ornament that one of our guys had rescued off the ground and placed on an old planter, “I made this you know.” She looked a little sad and I told her to take it and hang it on her tree this year. She smiled and put it in her pocket, “I think I will.”

When her brother arrived, he echoed her sentiments. You could really tell the strong moral foundation that was clearly instilled by their parents in this house. They were genuinely good souls like their parents, and they stressed how important it was to know that the people that were taking care of their things mirrored that kind of integrity. They spoke very fondly of my luggers, and who they are. I truly agree we have the best people on our team.

What we do is not just junk removal. When we come into a situation like this one we are taking care of precious memories. We are passing on the good karma of these items to a family in need when we donate. We are recycling obsolete items into useful ones. Just walking through the house I could picture the happiness. I could almost hear the laughter. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget and I am prouder than ever to be part of The Junkluggers and our mission.