Friday, May 13, 2011

The 'dirty little secret' of hoarding fills their father's house to rafters

By John Brewer

Karin Knudsen and her brother Gar Johnson walked the long, dirt drive leading to their childhood home in Little Canada one day in early March.

It had been 17 years since they were last inside, and even longer since anyone else — aside from their father — had seen beyond the front door.

The siblings passed a dilapidated boat, a half-dozen junked cars — including a Porsche — and acres of tangled trees as they approached the house. More than a dozen snow shovels leaned against the stoop. A camper trailer listed nearby.

Their father, Vance Johnson, had shut off the home to the rest of the world in 1986. Outgoing and charming, the 83-year-old St. Paul native had always been something of an eccentric collector. He frequented thrift stores and had a hard time passing up garage sales..." More

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