You know what I hate? I hate it when people leave their stuff at my house. I’m not talking about loans here. I’m talking about the accidental leaving of stuff that belongs to them, that I must needs return (because it doesn’t belong to me).

I don’t hold it against the leaver. Obviously, it’s an accident. It’s just that, when I have something in my possession that doesn’t belong to me, I Can’t Put It Away. First of all, I have nowhere to put it. Secondly, if I were to find someplace to put it– someplace out of sight– I would forget about it and then fail to return it to its owner.

Maybe this shouldn’t sound like such a big deal, and I guess really it isn’t, but the thing is that, while I’m not the Very Best Housekeeper Ever, I do really try to keep a tidy house, and I Hate to have things Lying Around. And while I’ll leave things Lying Around for awhile, if need be, or I’ll allow the children or husband to leave things Lying Around temporarily, the time comes (always) when I want it all Put Away. And then that’s what we do.

So if someone should leave his/her possession at my house, I will (eventually) Have A Problem.

Of course, it’s not always Someone Else’s fault. Witness some of the contents of our suitcases, recently returned with us from a weekend away in Western PA where we visited grandparents: Look! Here are Grandmom’s snowboots, borrowed and borrowed and borrowed by my middle son, and somehow included in the mounds of Snow Stuff that we brought home from her house. Also, to my surprise, amongs the travel laundry I find the camoflage pants and football jersey of my young nephew. Apparently these cast-off clothes lay in a pile with those of my children, and one of us scooped up the lot and brought them All The Way Home.

I cannot put these things away; I must return them to their owners A.S.A.P. Trouble is, this means a trip to the post office, and this presents problems of their own. Just ask either one of my sisters, or my dear friend Lynne– any of them can tell you about my post office problems. But that is for another post.

This post is about Things That Don’t Belong to Me, things that are left at my house.

It’s an epidemic around here lately. Just last week we had some workmen come to the house to take care of a project or two. They left the house when no one was home, and it wasn’t until the next day when I was pulling out of the driveway that I noticed it: Someone’s Toolbelt, hanging on one of the posts of the split-rail fence. From the vantage point of the car, I could see that it held in its pouches a measuring tape, a hammer, and some sort of prying device. Surely, these were necessary items. I left it there, thinking that the workmen might be back to get it. But no, when I later returned, it was still hanging desolate on its post, and now was getting dampened by the rain.

I brought it inside. It is biding its time in the dining room.

Last night we had a slumber party to celebrate Everett’s tenth birthday. Seven boys came, each toting a gift, a pillow, a sleeping bag. I knew full well when they arrived that we were likely to be left with an item or two: this kind of thing always happens. Even when we have Will’s birthday party at the pool, I end up bringing home some random and bereft t-shirt with me, belonging to we know not whom. So I figured that, with the slumber party and the lack of sleep and the fact of their being ten, some boy or even boys would leave Something.

For my part, I was fighting a cold last night and this morning. As such, my husband–ever heroic– tended to the party. He oversaw the packing up of sleeping bags, and he chatted with parents as, one by one, they took their sons away. It wasn’t until later– Much Later– that I descended the stairs to the playroom and took stock of the Leavings.

Let me just say right now that it is Impressive. We have quite a Take from this event: no fewer than three jackets, a sweatshirt, a hat, and two (not matching) socks.

I Don’t Know Whose They Are.

I suppose I could send them to school with Everett on Monday. Maybe he could lay them out on some of the desks in his classroom, and maybe the boys would claim them. But they’re ten. A few of them are nine. Judging from the size and bulk of our Lost and Found at school, I’m not confident that anything will be claimed.

Still, it’s to be expected. In the fracas of packing up sleeping bags, a stray sock is easy to overlook. And while it was a cold evening when the party started, the weather was decidedly pleasant this morning. Who needed a jacket? Or a sweatshirt? Or a hat?

But one of the abandoned items puzzles me. No matter how I try, I can’t figure it out. Sitting next to our front door, there where six other pairs used to be, is a pair of tennis shoes.

Did somebody leave our house barefoot?

4 thoughts on “Leavings

  1. What you need is a Place for Things Left at My House: a basket near the door or in a closet where orphans can stay until claimed.–Susan


  2. Wow shoes…amazing. If indeed they left barefoot, I imagine they were asked the following question – what do you mean you don’t remember where you left your shoes?? They are your SHOES!


  3. Remember when we once left a VIOLIN that you had to MAIL across the country? I must say, you have gone to great lengths to return our leavings to us. Why just this past summer, by the time my travels got me to my mothers, the socks we had left at your house not two weeks prior were waiting for me on my mother’s guest bed! Well done you!


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