20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers

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Many Faces of Loneliness


“Loneliness is an unpleasant feeling in which a person feels a strong sense of emptiness and solitude resulting from inadequate social relationships.”

Sisters hardened by an ugly man,

who escaped his wrath

by running into the night.

They left home, scars lacing their bodies.

They left home, with nary a bag.

They left home with nary an idea of who they were.

Life became their man,

their things, their perception of  self.

Their men died. They unwound.

They never did know which face was theirs.

They hid amongst their stuff.

Loneliness took hold, they’d had enough. 

Such vile evil is a hand raised to a child.



What Treasures Contained……….

What Treasures Contained……..

A beautiful, ceramic container,

with the ornate roses on the lid.

It has been tucked away

in a far corner, in the dark, 

for oh so many, many years.

Confined by the accumulations of hoarding.

At last freed from the confines,

the beautiful little container

receives the first light,

from a window across the room.

What treasures are contained beneath the lid?

Clash in the Mind

So much of what passes through here is about transitions, the journey of life from one stage into another…looking back….looking ahead.

With that in mind, I sold my folks ‘old house’ less than a year ago. It had become a hoarding house, but I must say the front was always maintained with some degree of love and dignity.

To test several old adages, the old house has recently challenged me thusly: ‘you can never go back’  & ‘to each their own’. The photographs speak of transitions and challenge me to move on. I look upon it now as a mix of bittersweetness, agitation, humor and catalyst.

The old house as it was 10 months ago at the time of sale.

The old house two months ago.

The old house, this morning, with the addition of new trim on around the windows and the railing.

The homes in this neighborhood are neat and relaxed. No one is pretentious, nor pinched in their attitudes. Yet this progression, even for Portlandia, flies in the face of my sense of neighborliness. 

Yes, I am challenged on so many levels to turn away, to move on, to do the mental calculations that affirm this is none of my business, ‘to each their own’. Did I say there was humor in my considerations?


Old Salutations to Willie


In a box, long forgotten, inside my Aunt’s Hoarding Home, I found an old autograph book. Apparently, a few of William/Willie’s admirers left inscriptions inside, along the way, to say hello.

The age of the book, the cursive writing, the wit, the formality just makes it intriguing to me. Not sure who Willie was. I don’t believe this was just a curious addition to her hoarding stuff.


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A Vision Lost?


This unique curvature in the brick work of an old building caught my eye. First, I saw the ‘too much stuff’ sign and my mind grabbed at that right away. ‘I need that shot for my Hoarding Woes blog’. I took a shot of just the sign and then saw the unfortunate contrast of that brash sign against the old brick work and the very unique curvature of the front of this corner lot building. I don’t believe I have seen another building like this in the Portland area. It sets abandoned and padlocked in a depressed part of  town. Maybe some monied, visionary will push farther East into this area and reclaim this boarded up gem.




There Once Was A Yard…………

There Once Was A Yard……….

A young woman’s fancy to create a garden utopia so many years ago resulted in a truly beautiful Eden. I recall it as a young boy, the flowers bright against the lush green lawn and hedges. As the years progressed she decorated and embellished with ornamental objects. Then, alone, her mind diminishing, she turned her back upon the beauty.  So the inevitable overgrowth consumed, choked and devoured the garden. This past weekend, as if in an archeological exploration, we uncovered little ornamental treasures hidden in the recesses of long forgotten beauty. Were she now here, she would so love our discoveries.


Stuff & More Stuff….Hoarding Woes

The temperatures are predicted to rise here into the 90’s. My family, The Team, will be holding  yet another ‘yard sale’ in an effort to work toward cleaning up my Auntie’s massive hoarding home. 

We spent nearly 18 months doing this for my Hoarding Mom. Now we are doing it, for over a year now, for my Mom’s partner in crime, my aunt. Bittersweet that both have passed, but it would have been impossible with them here in the midst of it all. 

I joke about the sales being ‘epic’ or ‘huge’…the usual adjectives on garage/yard sale signs. But I also sometimes add the words ‘no really’ or ‘truly’. Because with 27 tables and enough ‘stuff’ to fill those tables dozens and dozens of times over, it is actually epic and of course sad.

So that is my weekend plan. As it has been my every night plan after work for quite some time. This too shall pass.  Have a great weekend!!!


She Fell…Life Changed

She Fell…Life Changed (SwittersB)

An elder falls, suffers an injury. That person often changes. The mind changes. We all now change along with this life altering journey. Freedom changes. Self worth changes. Perceptions of reality, hard enough to define under normal circumstances, really change. Nothing, short of death, is more painful to watch as their mind wrinkles, crumples, tears in the aftermath of physical damage. Like some imperceptible leak, the loved one you knew drains away, by the drop. 


A Vortex of Karma & Humility

I have been unavoidably consumed the last few years with personal strife. Well, that is not exactly accurate. The struggles of loved ones have risen before me and I have helped them. Through illnesses, hospice in our home and their passings, I have also inherited debts and monstrous hoarding homes, plus never ending legal obligations.

It all seems to swirl and darken my views of life and the future. 

As their old house appeared in November last.

One thing I have done for a diversion is to drive by my folks old house and take a peek because it has become an interesting, if sometimes admittedly aggravating, side show. At first it angered me…the wanton letting the property go. Now I care less. I just shake my head and wonder.

I snapped some pictures and shook my head in wonder, again. A few roses poked through with color against the tall brown grass and sowed wild flowers. I looked down at my odometer for some reason….

I used to have a friend that believed in some mystical force of 1’s. The time 11:11 brought everything to a halt to make a wish or offer a prayer…any sequence of 1’s was an omen of gook karma. Well this odometer reading was a kick in the pants good moment then.

As I sat in my rig pondering the possible karma, the over grown yard and in a  mental zone, a little, old lady bundled up against the sunshine (floppy hat, sunglasses, long sleeve shirt, light gloves) walked by. I stared at her. Did I know her? I took a chance…’Mary Lou?’  She stopped and turned and a smile emerged. We conversed about my mom. About the old hoarding house. About the new look…the over grown look. She sighed, chuckled, said some kind remarks about the new owners as she shook her head. She was kind and not sweating the big stuff nor the small stuff. I left her not caring about the tall grass. I had received a nice touch of kindness and an example of positivity.

I drove down the road toward a location where I had placed my outer most ‘epic sale’ sign. There was a man, on a bicycle, slowly following a little boy on a small bicycle. I looked at them but thought nothing of it. I drove ahead and took down the first of many signs for the garage sale we had just had this past weekend. I drove ahead and there was the man and young boy again.

This time when I glanced at them, he looked at me and I recognized a man I had not seen in quite a few years. I had known him via the fly fishing world. His life and mine had pulled us both out of that arena into the obligations of life. I met his sweet son. Remarked that he was probably going to be in kindergarten soon. Where upon I asked where? The man remarked “Well right here” pointing to the school we were stopped in front of. Oblivious, I had not noticed the grade school. My grade school, where I attended classes in the 1950’s. 

All the above happened in the span of maybe twenty minutes. From the first photograph of the tall grass to gazing at the playground where I was taken by the image of pretty girls as a little boy. It was a swirl of bliss. It was so positive and a perfect coming together of events. I was elated.

I said my goodbyes and drove to where my next sign was placed. It was not there.

A Sign Maker, Like Me (SwittersB)

Seated in the shade was a group of men…transients. I noticed my sign in their midst, converted into a beggar’s tool. As the karma flowed, the man said “Are you looking for your ‘epic sale’ sign. I said I was. He didn’t answer back. I had recently noticed that some of the signs were disappearing or torn down. I had been aggravated by this to no end. I envisioned coming upon someone doing this and altering their physical configuration. But, here I was faced with one of my sign’s alterations. I was not intimidated nor flummoxed. Instead I reached into my pocket and pulled out some cash and said go buy some real food. The three men stood up and approached me and shook my hand.

I departed and continued on taking down my garage sale signs. That perfect little karma vortex didn’t just brush across my tired brain. It stopped me, held me in place and purposely penetrated my awareness. Devine Intervention? Cosmic forces? Whatever the cause, it was not random.

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Kinks & Leaks (Fix Them)

My mind, my body, my spirit? A little patching, pulling the kinks out, repairs and life goes on. After all the intent, in the photograph, is to provide nurturing to living things (plants, gardens, pets, family, friends). I will do my part. Will you? (by SwittersB)


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