National

Texas senior faced with mountain of junk mail every day

Fort Worth woman is more than a little concerned about her 87-year-old father.

"My father," she said, "is being buried alive."

To substantiate her claim, the woman opened the front door of a modest south Fort Worth home and guided a visitor past the cluttered living room and down a dim hallway.

A bespectacled gray-haired man sat in the kitchen.

"See what I mean?" the daughter said.

Her dad, a retired World War II veteran who lives alone, can no longer eat at his breakfast table.

The table is piled with envelopes of all sizes, a 31/2-foot mountain -- an avalanche -- of unopened junk mail. Some of the mailings had slid from the precarious and growing heap and lay scattered on the yellow linoleum.

That day, the man had received 56 more items.

"And 98 percent of it is junk," said the daughter, who, along with her father, is not being identified by the Star-Telegram.

Donation requests. Unwanted credit card applications. Address labels. Political fliers. Petitions. Catalogs. Calendars. Magazines. Newsletters. Mail-order scams. It keeps coming, a relentless and overwhelming snowstorm of advertising, signs of a consumer culture run amok.

"Urgent Notice!" "Immediate Response Requested." "Sign and Date Within the Next 10 Days."

Boxes crammed with envelopes blocked the back door. Junk mail resting along the baseboards of the entry hall created what the daughter recognizes as another safety hazard.

"Daddy, you could slip on this and fall," the woman said.

She knelt and gathered up the litter.

During one visit, the daughter said, she discovered the gas stove top covered with mail.

Knowing that this situation can't continue, and aware that her father needs help, she raked the material covering the stove into boxes and took them to her home to sort and shred. Two weeks ago, she carried out five more loads.

Belatedly, she has begun the time-consuming task of calling or writing the senders and requesting that her father's name be removed from the mailing lists.

Meanwhile her dad methodically dates each item.

Read the complete story at star-telegram.com

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