In the days since my mother passed away, my brother, my boyfriend, and I have been starting to tackle the massive task of going through several decades’ worth of accumulated STUFF in the apartment.

Over the last few days, we have discovered wonderful things (cash) and awful things (mice … or, specifically, one dead mouse and one live mouse which was later caught by a glue trap).  We’ve also discovered a bunch of weird / nostalgic / retro things based on my mother’s tendency to take something she wasn’t using anymore and stuff it into the back of a closet rather than throw it out.

Are you ready for this?  Okay, let’s go …

Loose Leaf Acetate Dividers

Loose leaf acetate dividers.  And yes, that says it cost 29 cents back in the day.

Pick Up Sticks and an Old IronPick Up Sticks and an old iron

Jet SetterHere we have a “Jet Setter” portable hair dryer, one of her many cool and trendy hair care products.  Man, remember when jets were all the rage?

Aero Tech Light BulbsI’ve never heard of Aero Tech light bulbs.  I’m also wondering what’s up with the “expensive rare gas” inside them.  Um … is that the kind of thing that explodes after several decades in a closet?

Rolls of DimesRolls of dimes.  I was confounded by the numbers written on the rolls, and I got all excited thinking this was the beginning of a series of clues that would turn into a treasure hunt.  Well, I showed them to my boyfriend (who is both older and smarter than me), and he said that “back in the day” you used to write the account number on the rolls before you deposited them in the bank.  Huh.  So … that was a thing???

Laminating Paper and Typewriter Correction PaperLaminating paper and typewriter correction paper

Professional Reporters NotebookHere we have a “Professional Reporter’s Notebook,” which is a little weird because no one in my family was a reporter of any kind.  I think my mother did take a steno class back in the day, though, and they used notebooks that were about this size.

Ancient School SuppliesOh, where should I begin?  All of these were mine at one time.  I got a kick out of seeing the Garfield pencil case, I was a little alarmed by the color of the glue (was it brown all along, or does white glue TURN brown after several decades?), and … well, that lunch money pocket looks very strange to modern eyes.  First because it’s like you’re trying to make it easier for bullies to target you, and second because once upon a time you could fit enough money for lunch into that tiny pocket!

CD Cleaners OF THE FUTURECD cleaners OF THE FUTURE!!!  BTW, I love that this is “space age” technology.

Clairol Deluxe Electric RollersClairol Deluxe Instant Hairsetter.  I remember trying to use these electric rollers when I was a kid, and it wasn’t a good experience.  More of a hot and painful experience.

A Product of IntegrityA PRODUCT OF INTEGRITY.  I would never have imagined such dramatic words applied to 15-cent sewing needles!

Crazy Curl Steam Styling WandCrazy Curl Steam Styling Wand.  So … what the hell is Xylan, anyway?

Fans of the Styling WandFans of the styling wand!

Butane FuelA can of butane fuel.  I guess she didn’t want to throw it down the incinerator so … it went back in the closet?

Woolworth Sewing Repair KitWoolworth sewing repair kit

ELECTRIC FOMENTATION UNITHere we have an ELECTRIC FOMENTATION UNIT … otherwise known as a heating pad?

My First CameraMy first camera.  I thought it looked kind of familiar, and then I found my initials on the back!

Electric RazorElectric razor.  I used one of these when I was a teenager (in fact, I might have even used this one), and I was not a huge fan.  It was not great at shaving, and it tended to overheat.

Mini VacuumHitachi mini vacuum.  I’m alarmed by those pictures, and entertained by the idea that a mini vacuum “trains children to clean up.”

Swing AireSwing Aire blower/dryer

Alexander's BagAlexander’s bag

Angel ChimesAngel Chimes.  We used to take this out at Christmas time.  When you lit the candles, the heat from the candles made the doohickey spin, which made the angels ring the bells.

ArpegeArpege (unopened).  I only learned what Arpege was because of a line in a play I once acted in (Working by Studs Terkel).  The prostitute says that she’s not unlike other women because while she takes the money that men leave on the nightstand, other women are rewarded with a bottle of Arpege.

Digital Quartz Desk ClockDigital Quartz Desk Clock … OF THE FUTURE!!!  No, seriously, I LOVE that font.

Picture Frame ModelOMG.  We found a bunch of picture frames in the closet, but this one was the most memorable because the model’s appearance (Oh, that hair! Oh, that outfit!) really dates it.

More Electric Hair CurlersMore electric hair curlers

Clairol KindnessClairol Kindness

Rotary PhoneOkay, kids.  Once upon a time there were these things called rotary phones …