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  • Kristan Higgins

On moldy cushions…

Updated: Apr 26, 2022


In THE PERFECT MATCH, Honor and her siblings try to help their grandparents, the infamous Goggy and Pops, to streamline their home a little bit. Get them to stop going up the stairs fifty times a day. Maybe throw away some of those newspapers they just can’t part with, or get rid of five or six of their twenty-seven corkscrews.

I can relate. My grandparents had a hard time letting go of stuff. In a lot of ways, Goggy and Pops are based on my beloved Gram and Poppy, though my grands were quite in love. Still, they could bicker over things like how much mustard Poppy should put on his sandwich, or why they didn’t need a new blanket, because their old blanket, the one they bought just after World War II, was perfectly fine. My grandmother had an impressive collection of twist-ties and rubber bands in her fascinating junk drawer, as well as emery boards gone soft with years of use. Loose pennies. Nubs of pencils.

There’s one scene in The Perfect Match that was taken almost verbatim from my own life, and that’s when Honor, Tom, Charlie, and Abby attempt to clean out the cellar. Pops watches in horror as they attempt to toss a moldy piece of foam.

“Okay,” Honor said. “We can definitely get rid of some of this stuff.” She reached for a likely candidate.

“Put that down,” her grandfather said. “I need that.”

“Pops, it’s a moldy piece of cushion foam. And it’s torn.”

“So? I can wash it and use it for something.”

“Like what? When would you need moldy torn cushion foam?”

“It’s gross, Pops,” Abby said.

“I’m not going to stand here and watch you make fun of my things,” Pops grumbled. “I have vines to check.”


This was my grandfather. His cellar was a treasure trove of hideous crap with the occasional jewel. Amid the bent golf club, the broke scale, a single crutch, and crooked shelves containing jars of rusty nails was a picture of my great-grandfather on the lawn of the United States Capital, the day he became an American citizen in 1937. (That photo now hangs in my hall, matted and framed, I’ll have you know.) There was a Pepsi-Cola blackboard from the 1950s. The wooden counter from the family grocery store where my Great-Gram would bag groceries.

But mostly, there was junk. The only way we could get him to part with stuff was if my son asked for it, and for some reason, my boy had just as deep a love for moldy foam and broken tools as Poppy. In that case, sure, Poppy was happy to let something go.

Inheritance, instead of junk. His legacy living on. ; )


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