Saturday, October 26, 2013


Long ago, when Garry and I were first married, before we owned a home, we rented a tiny, adorable and over-priced apartment on Beacon Hill. I had bought curtains and drapes — nice ones — for all the windows in the apartment. It was a building dating back to the early 1800s. The ceilings were high, the windows tall. That was the best part of the apartment … that and the fireplace in the living room and what was probably the nicest marble bathroom we’ve ever had. I could have lived without the other residents of the flat — the cockroaches who had apparently been there since Paul Revere made his ride. Quaintness comes at a price.

Photo Credit: Juergen Roth
I put all the new curtains in a black trash bag and warned Garry — or thought I warned Garry — this wasn’t trash. It was our new drapes. I either hadn’t actually warned him or he hadn’t heard me. We had just moved in and there was a lot of trash to go out, all in black trash bags. I’m sure you already know the punchline.

By the time I realized the drapes had been taken to the curb, the scavengers of Beacon Hill had snagged them. Everybody on Beacon Hill, rich and poor alike, scavenges. While we were still in the process of moving in, people kept coming by trying to take our stuff. I’m not talking about poor homeless people. I mean The Neighbors. Several times I had to remove lamps and other items of furniture from their clenched fists.

So, to no one’s surprise, the drapes were out there a nanosecond and then gone. Since they were all still in their original unopened wrappings with the price tags attached, whoever took them had to know they were not trash. In Roxbury, where we later lived — a poor, mostly black neighborhood — I’m sure they would have returned the drapes. They would have gone door to door until they found the right house. But that was Roxbury. Beacon Hillers have a different way of looking at things that reminds me of an old childhood chant “Finders keepers, losers weepers.” Just saying.

I had to buy new drapes and the second set wasn’t as nice — or expensive — as the first. I’d used up the money and couldn’t spend it twice.

Over the years, my penchant for storing stuff in black trash bags has cost us dearly. Christmas presents, out of season clothing, household items intended for the attic — have all vanished. Who done it? Me? Garry? One of the kids? It could be anyone. I’m inclined to blame the terriers. They are always sneaking around, up to no good.

As a family, we have a knee-jerk reflexive response to black trash bags. We throw them out. It could have been anyone. (I still suspect Bonnie, the Scottie.)

Last night, I realized that our down comforter (yes, stored in a black trash bag), had vanished. This is not an item that you can easily overlook. A queen-sized down comforter is big and fluffy, even in a trash bag. It had considerable size, if not heft. This is not like looking for a piece of missing paper. This was something that would be easy to spot. It should have been in the bedroom — but wasn’t.

I checked the closets and the attic. Nothing. No black trash bags.

When finally the dust settled (I really liked that comforter) and I had ordered a replacement from Kohl’s, hopefully to be delivered before the cold weather closes in, I apologized to Garry for accusing him of perfidiously disposing of our bedding and said: “I have to stop storing things in black trash bags. This isn’t working out.”

He agreed. With enthusiasm.

Do they make big bags like that in clear plastic? Just wondering.


Anonymous said...

LOL, have done that, but not as often as you. Fun article, thanks. YES, they DO make clear ones......I will get you a couple of places you can order them. They make some large enough to put a queen size mattress in!

Funny, was just thinking of plastic garbage bags the other day. When I was a kid and we put our kitchen garbage in the old grocery story paper bags that just fit into our kitchen trash can, my dad, (who was an architect and used to see huge rolls of plastic on the large buildings he designed, had an idea. He thought he should start a company making different sized plastic bags for garbage. We all thought he was nuts.....HAH, he would have died rich. Yep, I know I have thrown out a few bags that contained irreplaceable items. You aren't the only one, Marilyn. There are many places to buy clear ones.......different sizes and strengths. The easiest may be Home is a link They have 45 to 55 gallon size.......50 for about $14. CHEAP if you throw out things you are supposed to keep. You could put all GARBAGE in the black ones and things to save in the clear ones. Never a problem again, LOL! Plus, you can tell what is in them without labeling them. I have links for larger ones if you like. Oh, the picture was fantastic! Power and wind..........two excellent ways to boat. The sail looks like a trimaran, but hard to tell from the angle. Hi to Gary, KEITH

Marilyn Armstrong said...

Definitely sounds like a worthwhile investment. It makes a funny story, but it wasn't all that funny when I had to replace the stuff that got accidentally thrown away. That was more than small change!

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