Return of the Profligate Son


Beware all children who return after years to their parental home. Also, beware all parents whose children come home after years. Much changes over years, and one party is bound to not take this change calmly, believing that the place he or she had left as an adult should have remained the way he or she had left it.

But homes, of parents, are not museums — a fact that a Michigan court overruled when it awarded a 43-yearold man $30,441 in damages from his parents for throwing his old stash of collectibles, including pornography, out. Oh, and an additional $14,500 to pay the man’s lawyer’s bill.

The law may have found the rights of an adult son to have been infringed upon when his parents threw out ‘junk’ from his (old) room, little knowing that a divorce would have him return to it for 10 months after decades. But in terms of ‘our house, our rules’, youthful property left at the parental place should have no guarantee of survival — unless expressly mentioned as a filial request.

Yes, not finding one’s room left the way it was can be mournful, and mourning is legitimate. But treating one’s old room at one’s parents as a time capsule is anachronistic. Our Michigan prodigal son could now be taken to court for not paying his parents warehouse fees, which could cover or exceed the amount he has wrangled as ‘pocket money



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