What If We Were Neatniks?, My Mother’s Treasure Chest, & the Hillary Caucus Kit

My mother's treasure chest!

My mother’s “treasure chest,” faded from the sun and detassled by cats!

This week I am “decluttering.”  After I disposed of several bags of recyclables and just plain trash, my husband began to worry about our future.

“Wouldn’t if be awful if one of us was a neatnik?” he wondered, as I cleared out cupboards to make room for his penny jars, notebooks, paperclips, reference books, and ski paraphernalia.

He needn’t worry.  I am doing this because I miss my neatnik mother.  While I put away our CDs, hung up sweatshirts, and tossed away ” cat fishing poles” from which toy mice and feathers hd been chewed off, I suddenly remembered I had her fabric-covered “treasure chest” on the sun porch.  I brought it inside, realizing it would be perfect for storing some  miscellanea.

But first I had to sort the papers inside.  There were many funeral programs and obituaries.   She also saved newspaper articles about St. Pat’s Church, destroyed in a tornado in 2006 and rebuilt on the edge of town in 2009  (too far for her to drive in her cautious eighties, alas).   She kept records of her generous donations to the church:  $20 a week.  And there was a very well-written letter from a retired priest, who had gone to Fordham.  My goodness!  If all priests were that well-educated!

There were wedding invitations and announcements of graduations.  I was very envious of a wedding invitation in the form of a booklet, with long quotes from the bride, groom, and their friends about where and how they met.

But most touching was the fact that Mom kept her “Iowans for Hillary Caucus Kit” from 2008.  And now the caucuses are coming up again!


                 2008 “Iowans for Hillary Caucus Kit”

My mother loved Hillary!  She was mad about two political families:  the Clintons and the Kennedys.  Although the Clintons were less glamorous (and not Catholic!), she followed Hillary’s career with the sharp eyes trained by a bachelor’s degree in political science. She was impressed by Hillary’s record on health care, the economy, and her criticism of the War in Iraq.   For one of my birthdays Mom gave  me Hillary’s memoir, because she thought “it was important.” I will never dare to weed it!

I feel, eerily, that this Hillary kit is from my mom.  Coincidence?  Well…  At the caucuses, there  is milling and thronging,  sitting idly on bleachers or folding chairs, people arguing and switching sides (if their candidate is not viable, i.e., has too few supporters), and finally, many hours later, a  head count. County by county they are added up. The results determine the “win, show, place” positions of candidates and  the number of delegates for each candidate.

Anyway, I shall TRY to go.  Though my mother didn’t like the caucuses, either. But one vote can make a difference.  We saw that with the whole Howard Dean thing in 2004.

Here is an excerpt from a letter from Hillary in the 2008 kit.   It does make me want to caucus!

Everyone agrees the race in Iowa is close and could be determined by a handful of supporters.  If just one in three on my supporters stays at home, I will not be successful here in Iowa.  But if you and all the  other Iowa Democrats who support my candidacy participate on caucus night, we can take a giant step toward securing the Democratic nomination and winning this election….

And below is another side of the brochure in the 2008 Hillary caucus kit:


See, I don’t need a current Hillary Caucus Kit!