Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Where the Hoard Started: Newspaper Stacks

I remember my father had an easy chair and on both sides were stacks of newspapers. The stacks never seemed to go down, but either remained a constant height or grew more stacks. I would curiously check out the stack and, like an archeological dig I would go down through the layers, going back years. Reading the newspapers was like a divine task. We had to try and not bother him, so he could finish his newspapers. We had two subscriptions, a morning regional paper and an evening city paper, so the stacks were constantly being filled.

When I was eight we moved to a new house, a bigger house. My father had his own room. The understanding was that this would be his own place and he could fill it up with as much stuff as he wanted. Even as we moved, a few stacks of newspapers came with us. One of the bottom shelves in his room has a stack of newspapers. In the new house the stacks started again.

I think by the time I was 12, my parents had the sense to cancel the newspaper subscriptions. Again as a family we saw this as an opportunity for my father to win the battle of the newspapers, without fresh material coming in.

If he was reading newspapers, then he didn't have time for mail and in the kitchen mail piled up. That was part of the hoard life, when concentrating on one area, another area spiralled out of control.

The funny thing looking back at all this is how imperative and central it seemed that he had to read the newspapers. There were times when I would jokingly say to my mother, "Can we throw away newspapers?"
"What do you think I am doing while he is at work," my mother side, "every day I take a little bit from the bottom of the pile."

My father is a very fragile and sensitive man, yet dealing with his newspapers had to be done in a subtle manner and with great care. It was as if an invisible force inhabited the house that dictated we act irrationally toward this behavior, rather than confront, we were supposed to tiptoe around it.


  1. My mother also clings to all newspapers. She quickly flips through them and marks on the tops of pages articles she wants to go back and read....but she never does......Several times my father has mentioned just "dumping" them, holy heck batman!

  2. Yes it is like these items are the elephant in the room. So obvious that this needs to be thrown out, but the objects take on a life of their own.

  3. Hi, this is Anonymous from above. I was traumatized again yesterday by the stack of newspapers, they are yellowing and beginning to tilt sideways, I thought of this blog, sigh.