A match made in hoarding heaven
Let’s say you’re dating someone and everything’s going swimmingly. Soon it’s time to meet the parents. As the Anti-Girlfriend, I haven’t (yet!) made it this far, but for a friend of mine, Judy Batalion this entailed explaining to her significant other that her mother is a hoarder. But before she could say anything, he got there first by bring her home to his parents who also have a LOT of stuff.
She wrote about meeting her husband, also the child of a hoarder, for Salon in an essay called, “Hoarding: A Love Story.” In describing her childhood home, Batalion writes:
The Montreal duplex where I grew up was filled with shag rugs and teak shelves overloaded with paperbacks, records and overdue library books. My mother found it impossible to throw out unused parts of Kleenex, packets of Sweet’N Low and food, period. Our kitchen counters supported towers of stale Danish and rotting bananas.
When she entered Jon’s parent’s home for the first time, she encountered a similar sight. There was a lot of stuff but it was a whole different class of stuff. (If we apply the Occupy Wall Street terminology to this situation, Batalion’s family were the 99 percent of hoarders while Jon’s were 1 or perhaps 2 percenters.)
But from the moment I entered the vestibule of his parents’ house that first Hanukkah night and spotted a human-size tower of junk mail, I was astonished. Jon’s family was wealthier than mine, so their hoarding comprised a different class of object. The dining room, bigger than any of my parents’ rooms, had several antique tables stacked on their backs, boxes from Sotheby’s, collector toasters and Tiffany lamps galore.
You should definitely take the time to read the rest of the Salon piece here.
There’s a fun postscript to this story. Anderson Cooper did a show on hoarding and Judy was interviewed about her story. When I asked her if Cooper is as dreamy in person as he seems on TV, she answered, “Unbelievably dashing.” And he wasn’t even wearing a tight black t-shirt.
She appears around three minutes in.