During his final years, my father stockpiled toilet paper.

Yes.  Toilet paper.

I knew when I emptied his house to move him into a small apartment that he had issues with hoarding.  I found hundreds of used bubble envelopes in which products had been delivered to him, but then he set the envelopes aside in case he needed them for something.  As I said, there were hundreds…and it almost broke his heart when I put them in the trash.

Then, there were the AOL disks.  Nearly as many of them as there were bubble envelopes.  Every time he received a disk urging him to sign-up for AOL, he stashed it somewhere in his computer desk.  Every nook and cranny, filled.  Despite the fact that he was already using AOL.

Those disks went in the trash, as well.

I found multiple copies of books, ordered from Reader’s Digest or Publisher’s Clearing House with the expectation that he would win their sweepstakes.  Of course, he never remembered that he had previously ordered that exact book (several times).  All of those…donated to the public library.

I guess it was too much to expect that when he moved into the Alzheimer’s facility he would change.

One day, upon entering through the security door at Beacon Pointe, I found my father’s walker in the hallway.  As I watched, he hobbled out of the restroom, two rolls of toilet paper under his arm.

“What are you doing, Daddy?”  I watched as he put the products inside his walker basket.

“I’m just going to put these away,” he said, and started in the direction of his room.

I followed.  Curious.

He opened the door to his wardrobe and carefully placed the rolls, one by one, on the top shelf.  Where they joined fifty other rolls.

“Why have you been taking toilet paper?” I asked.

“Well, they don’t need it,” he said.

“I think they must, Daddy, or they wouldn’t have put the rolls in the restroom.”

“We’ll just wait and see,” he said, his favorite phrase.

I let the Beacon Pointe staff know where the toilet paper was stashed in case their supply closet ran empty and, of course, after he died and I cleaned out his room, I left those behind.

The entire time I was mulling over how unlike my father I am.  Me, hoard?  Never.

One day at home, as I turned away from the linen closet with two rolls of toilet paper that I was taking to the master bathroom, I found George.  Standing right behind me.

He looked me up and down and said, “The apple doesn’t fall far.”

Perhaps I’m more like Daddy than I thought….

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