Dear Abby: My mother, who is in her late 60s, is obsessed with family history and preserving attachments to relatives. In addition to being the family genealogist, she collects objects that belonged to relatives or people who “might” have been relatives, those who share our last name or lived in the same small town as our ancestors.

Her house is stuffed to the gills with furniture, books, legal documents, photos and the like. Each object has a story that goes with it. Every time I visit, she spends literally hours talking about the various histories of her things and tries to get me to recite what I was supposed to have learned during my previous visits.

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