After my sister died, I asked my brother-in-law to keep his eye open for some old scrapbooks belonging to my mother that my sis had wanted. They finally turned up and he sent them to me.
Of the three items, only one is really worth keeping in the family and I will send that one to my daughter. A second one will go to the Long Beach Historical Society, as it has a great deal in it about her work with the Community Hospital Women's Auxiliary, but I do have some ambivalent feelings about dumping the one that contained all my mother's poems.
She was an inveterate poem writer - and 99.9% of it was nothing but doggerel. They were all little cutesy rhyming things and really weren't very good. She sent all of them out for publication to various poetry magazines and greeting card companies, but never sold a thing. She saved a copy of everything, pasted it in her scrapbook and left it, I suppose, as one of her legacies.
I have consulted my brother and he is not interested in this scrapbook, nor am I, so it will go into the trash bin.
Nevertheless, it is a sorry thing to think that my mother, who was so fulfilled by her poetry-writing, will have her collected poetry, bad as it was, assigned to the trash heap.
I really think it at least it should be saluted by being burned like a flag that has outlived its usefulness.
What bothers me is wondering what if all my life's-worth of writings will meet a similar fate. Like Rev. Abner Peet says in Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology”:
I had no objection at all
To selling my household effects at auction
On the Village square.
It gave my beloved flock the chance
To get something which has belonged to me
For a memorial.
But that trunk which was struck off
To Burchard, the grog-keeper!
Did you know it contained the manuscripts
Of a lifetime of sermons?
And he burned them as waste paper.