Here a brush, there a brush, everywhere a toothbrush


Back in the last century, my mother returned from a home extension meeting excited about a program on 101 uses for used toothbrushes. Having gone through the great depression, she was a prime candidate for frugality. She never threw out another toothbrush.

Nor have I. I have a house full of used toothbrushes waiting for the second time around. We are what our parents teach us.

Our dentist tells us to discard our toothbrush after using it for three months. In our household that translates as four old toothbrushes per year times two for my other half, which makes eight. At one time, we had three daughters at home, which gives us another 12, which results 20 per month. So far, so good with my math. Times that number by the years, and we are approaching a number too high for me to calculate.

This results in toothbrushes falling out of the medicine cabinet, mingling with the silverware, tucked in drawers, sitting on shelves and under stacks of whatever in our home, the garage and the storage shed.

It’s interesting to think about the items we tend to keep and what we throw away. I threw away a Mickey Mouse watch but tucked away in a corner of the bedroom is a hefty supply of large bags from various merchants in a 50-mile radius of our home. There may come a day when I may have second thoughts about a purchase and need to return it, thus having the correct bag.

The basement is full of valuables including a big box considered most valuable and, over the years, has been moved to five different homes in several different cites. Among the mementos in that cardboard box is a dance card from a high school athletic banquet. It is a prime collectable because it is snow white, no writing. Our high school was so small that if every guy in my high school had sighed it, the card still would have been half empty. Do I still have it? Of course. If I thought enough of it for more than 50 years, why get rid of it now? I may put it in a new box, one that came from my favorite department store, that I’ve kept just in case. Although, I believe that box is full of used toothbrushes.


Joyce Ore

Joyce Ore writes delightful stories about life with a dose of humor and sprinkle of nostalgia. Her column appears Saturday in the Tribune.

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