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De-Clutter Project Gets Good Grades
Marg-Ins 8-19-20

So, how was your summer vacation?

Wait, did we get a vacation?

There’s no doubt we are sweltering right now in the hottest stretch of weather this summer, but if you’re like me – and I suspect plenty of others – there wasn’t a true ‘vacation’ for you in June or July. And here we are with the kids already ‘back’ to school.

I did originally have a trip planned back home in early June but New York was even more of a hotspot for coronavirus then than California. More in the city than upstate but I had to weigh a lot of factors and ultimately decided against a cross country flight at that time. Luckily, the money for the ticket I had already bought is still on account and hopefully will not expire before the right opportunity arises for me to travel back east for a visit.

Probably the highlight of the summer was having a day off for the Fourth of July and getting the chance to spend it together with family. It was a full day of visiting, barbecuing, enjoying a game night and then watching all those highly illegal fireworks exploding overhead. How ironic (and a little sad) that I consider it a ‘day off’ when it was a legal holiday and a Saturday besides – but normally I would have been covering the community Fourth of July festivities in Escalon so that would have been a work day.

We still operate on a limited in-office crew here; the one day almost everyone is in the office is Wednesday but other than that there is typically less than a half dozen people in the office at any given time.

Recently we were discussing the stories we have had and trying to figure out if there were any at all that didn’t somehow have a link to or mention of COVID somewhere in them. I would suspect it’s pretty rare. Unless you are talking about the fire calls or the police beat, nearly everything seems to have some relation to coronavirus and the new realities we find ourselves in for 2020.

The summer did allow me the opportunity to do some long overdue spring cleaning, so that at least was a good thing. To say I am a pack rat would be an understatement. It was refreshing to go through and clean out clutter; that old adage of ‘if you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it’ turns out to be a good one. Of course, there are things you have to keep but I discovered there were plenty of others that were really of no use and some that I really had to stretch the memory banks to even remember why I kept them in the first place.

But then there were the ones that need to be preserved and I think a good winter project for me will be getting all those loose photographs into photo albums so they have a proper home.

There’s also a delicate balance of staying focused on the cleaning out clutter task and digressing to look through the memorabilia you want to keep. My sister and brother-in-law found themselves in that same situation when they were back in upstate NY in late May-early June. They spent several days helping my dad go through years of accumulated items in the attic and stored in the upstairs bedrooms. My sister would take a picture of this or that, send it off and ask if I remembered it. They found a couple of boxes of ‘stuff’ for me to peruse when I do visit, things my sister said she wanted me to decide whether or not to keep. Apparently my pack rat-edness started early in life.

Oh well, at least if I have to bring back some childhood items from my next trip east, I now have room for them. There’s a spot in my recently cleaned out closet just waiting.


Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.