Donna Everhart

First Sentence Fridays – Chapter 14

I’ve read articles recently about older parents downsizing and how their children don’t want their stuff.  It’s true, and I’ve experienced this first hand when I helped my mom move here to my little hometown. She’d been living in my childhood home, the place my dad built, and where we grew up, for sixty years. SIXTY years, y’all.  Think about the accumulation of . . . stuff.

On top of the time there, she’s also part of that generation that doesn’t throw anything away. And by anything, I mean I found a baggie, sandwich sized, (at least not gallon!) of shoe strings. Who has a baggy of shoe strings?  Mom. She also had one of bread ties. And another one of buttons. She had old knives my Dad had MADE. I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture of those to show you. Yes. I took them. And yes, she asks me how I like them, and do I use them. (no, and no, but I keep them in case she wants evidence I haven’t tossed them out in the garbage.)

Back to the bread ties.

I said, “Do we really need to move this baggie of bread ties?”

“Oh yeah, I might need them for something.”

(when she wasn’t looking, File 13) She hasn’t missed them. She’s collected another baggie of them though.

Over this past weekend, we celebrated her 82nd birthday. I wadded up the tissue paper. She was aghast!

“Oh no, save it, and when I get home I’ll iron it out and re-use it!”

While I puzzled over ironing out tissue paper, I straightened out all the pieces from the ball I’d scrunched tightly, and tried to fold them into some semblance of what they’d been.

But, there certainly are some things worth having. After my Dad died, I wanted to get back the coat I’d given him, and that he’d worn all the time, as it seemed like he was always cold. You might remember it from a blog post I did a while back called Finding Pennies.

I’ve taken a special dish or two off of Mom’s hands, the sort of items where she’d say, “That was your grandmother’s,” meaning her mom. I have an old hutch that belonged to my grandmother on my Dad’s side too.

I also have this from Dad:

When he brought this car home, it was literally only the body. A shell. No tires. No motor. No seats. Nothing. He re-built it completely, and it runs great.  I’ve shown this picture before, because I’m real proud of what he could do.


Sonny can divine water. She has a special willow branch she uses that was her Daddy’s. It shows the wear from his hands, and it was the one she used the day she realized she had this same gift, just like him. He gave it to her to keep once they made this discovery, so it holds extraordinary meaning to her. To lose something like this and to be only twelve years old, makes an impact.  It was one of those things worth having, and for her, it’s like losing him all over again.


Chapter 14

After a few days of frantic searching, I finally broke down and asked Mama had she seen my willow branch.


10 thoughts on “First Sentence Fridays – Chapter 14”

  1. I must be the same age as your mother because I save old shoelaces, bread ties and buttons. I also reuse tissue paper and I save gift boxes. I guess this is because when I grew up, I didn’t have a lot of money and we had to make do. My stuff is well organized and if my kids don’t want it, they can throw it out when I am gone.

    1. It sounds like you won’t ask them – which does put “the child” in an uncomfortable spot if what’s being presented is . . . well, homemade knives. 🙂 I do save the boxes, and the wired ribbon, so I reckon I’m not too much of a throw away person. I also HATE wasting food.

  2. I wish I could be as loving and caring toward my parents as you are Donna, but my scars run deep.

    1. I understand that, Christy – it makes it tough to watch/be an observer of others enjoying this. I hope you’ve made good friends though who love you and enjoy your company b/c that’s what important – being around people who care about you. <3

  3. I love your stories, Donna, both the personal ones and the fictional ones. My grandparents lived through the depression and taught their children, our parents, to be frugal and save everything. I am just the opposite. Although I’m sentimental about stories, I find that “stuff” feels more like a burden than a cherished memory. When my son moved to college I downsized to a small granny unit, and I admit I mailed boxes of photos, drawings and toys to my three children rather than try to find a way to store them. I did keep one box for writing. For me, the words are everything. I don’t know if I’ll ever revisit that box, but knowing it’s there is enough.

    I’m on page 60 of THE FORGIVING KIND and I am in love with this story. That Sonny sounds a lot like you. 😉

    1. Awww, thank you Eldonna – well, the same goes for you too! I love the way you write, and you always find that perfect word to finish out a description and your analogies are so fresh and creative. (while I sit here and try to write something about the wind in a different way for the umpteenth time – haha) I want to downsize, and I’ve come to realize that I need to just donate stuff. I ask my kids and they’re always like, “Um, well, uh.” Ha!

      Susan Peterson was on Chapter 31 and she actually posted to my Timeline on FB and said she’d not been able to breathe for the last 100 pages. It made me laugh! I loved writing Sonny Creech, and if she sounds a lot like me – I’m proud of that! <3

  4. I know what you mean about sorting out a parent’s stuff. We went through that when my mom passed away and my dad moved to a smaller house. Although we didn’t run across any baggies of bread ties. LOL I’m not much of a ‘keeper’ so my son won’t have a lot of things to sort through when I’m gone. I think I keep more memories than things. And I can carry those with me wherever I go. I do have to say I LOVE that car of your dad’s! And it’s amazing when you consider what he started with.

    Poor Sonny. Lost her willow branch. That must break her heart. I know I’m going to love this book, Donna. And I love your personal stories, too.

    1. I’ve got to where I just take whatever Mom wants to give me, and not say anything b/c she looks so hurt when I refuse it, you know? The thing is, she’s also like a hawk when it comes to wanting to know where it is. “Do you use those knives your Daddy made?” “Sure Mom, see, here they are.” (boy oh boy.)

      Yes! My dad’s car is SO much fun to ride in when it’s cooler. We have Betty Boop car mats and fuzzy dice hanging in the window. 🙂

      There’s a lot of heartbreak in that book. And a lot of hard stuff that goes on, and writing the character of Sonny was something else – I had a lot of fun figuring her out, and her brothers too. I hope you will love the book. My earliest readers seem to! Yay!

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