When Mother moved to southern Indiana, she became best friends with the mailman. While living in southern California, Mother had easy access to a number of stores where she could purchase more junk to clutter her already-brimming apartment.
In Indiana, Mother’s access to products locally was severely limited because she lived in a teeny tiny town and it was difficult for her to make her way the seventeen miles to Wal-Mart. Thus began a love affair with mail order catalogs like Miles Kimball, Appleseed’s, Figi’s, Pittman & Davis, Walter Drake and about a million more. Mother loved to order crap she did not need. More crap which would, of course, further clutter her already-brimming little house.
Mother spent hours filling out forms, writing out checks and mailing them off. I am not sure if it was the anticipation of waiting for the packages, or if she just enjoyed visiting with the mailman, or if she loved tearing open the deliveries to see what Santa had brought. Yes, every day was like Christmas for Mother at this point. Her memory was so bad that she rarely remembered ordering things. This practice continued until my sister and I intervened and stopped the madness.
Between mail order packages and solicitations for money to allegedly purchase Chinese Bibles (for alleged delivery in China), Mother was spending more than a pretty penny each month. When we confronted her, she said:
Well, whose money is it anyway? I guess I can spend every penny of my money each month if I want to.
The truth was that thanks to our dad, Mother received a tidy sum each month from his Social Security account. And she was spending it as fast as it came in. My sister and I felt an obligation to not allow her to be so reckless with the money. Mother’s spendthrift days had come to an end and we hoped she would learn a lesson. Well, they say it’s difficult to teach an old dog new tricks. Try teaching someone far from normal to be normal. Impossible.