When Garry and I were first married and before we owned a home, we rented a tiny, adorable, over-priced apartment on Beacon Hill. Since it was on the ground floor, privacy decreed window coverings. I bought curtains and drapes for all the windows. The building dated back to the early 1800s. The ceilings were high, the windows tall.

The windows were the best feature of the apartment along with a fireplace in the living room and a beautiful marble bathroom. I could have lived without the other residents of the flat. Cockroaches. Who had apparently been there since Paul Revere made his ride. Big ones, the kind one addresses as “sir.” Regardless of sex.

Parking is a real issue on Beacon Hill. So is trash.

Parking is a real issue on Beacon Hill. So is trash. We lived up the street on the left, ground floor.

I put all the new curtains in a black trash bag and warned Garry — or thought I warned Garry — “This,” I said “is NOT trash. It’s our new drapes.” That’s what I thought I said. Regardless, it wasn’t what Garry heard.  We had just moved in and there was a lot of trash waiting for disposal, all in black trash bags. I’m sure you know the punchline.

By the time I realized the drapes had been taken to the curb, the scavengers of Beacon Hill had snagged them. Everybody on Beacon Hill, rich and poor alike, scavenges. While we were still moving in, people kept coming by trying to take our stuff. I’m not talking about poor homeless people. I mean The Neighbors. Several times I had to remove lamps and other items of furniture from their clenched fists.

The drapes were gone in a nanosecond. Still in their original wrappers, price tags attached. Whoever took them had to know they were not trash. In Roxbury, where we later lived — a poor, mostly black neighborhood — I’m sure they would have returned the drapes. They would have gone door to door until they found the right house. But Beacon Hillers have a different way of looking at things that reminds me of an old childhood chant “Finders keepers, losers weepers.”

I had to buy new drapes and the second set wasn’t as nice — or expensive — as the first. I’d used the money and couldn’t spend it twice.

Over the years, my penchant for storing stuff in black trash bags has cost us dearly. Christmas presents, out of season clothing, household items intended for the attic — have all vanished. Who done it? Me? Garry? One of the kids? It could be anyone. I’m inclined to blame the terriers. They are always sneaking around, up to no good.

As a family, we have a knee-jerk response to black trash bags. We throw them out. It could have been anyone. (I still suspect Bonnie, the Scottie.)

As the weather turned chilly, I decided to put our down comforter on the bed. It should have been easy enough to find, stored as it was in a big black trash bag. Except it had vanished. This is not an item one can easily overlook. A king-sized down comforter is big. Fluffy. It had considerable bulk, if not heft. This is not like looking for a piece of missing paper. This should have been easy to spot. And it should have been in the bedroom — but wasn’t.

I checked the closets and the attic. Nothing. No black trash bags. None at all.

When finally the dust settled (I really liked that comforter) and I had ordered a replacement from Kohl’s, I apologized to Garry for accusing him of perfidiously disposing of our bedding.

“I have to stop storing things in black trash bags. This isn’t working out,” I said. Garry readily agreed. I’m pretty sure he’s still pissed off at me. I can hardly blame him.

Do they make big bags like that in clear plastic? Just wondering.

Categories: Anecdote, Architecture, Boston, Family, Humor, You can't make this stuff up

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16 replies

  1. Well that sounds like a story we could write, one of the misadventures of domestic married life.


  2. Awesome. Step away from the black bags or I will hurt you.


  3. Great story! Really enjoyable read. And I agree with Stacie, you need a new storage system… Perhaps some clear space bags?


  4. I’m glad you finally learned your lesson. George Santayana can stop rolling over in is grave.


  5. You definitely need a new storage system!


  6. Maybe try white trash bags for storage & keep the black ones for trash only – or the other way around.
    I sometimes keep the clear plastic bags that comforters come in for storage.
    There are always those Vacuum Sealed Storage Bags available too.


  7. Seems like the media always takes the hit when things go wrong — including Black trash bags with good stuff that inadvertently get tossed. As for the Cockroaches, they are registered voters. They are going nowhere. They also have prefered parking spaces “on the Hill”, at City Hall and The State House.


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