This is one of a series of stories we are sharing to show what’s inside CubeSmart. You not only get a peek inside our customer’s storage unit, but also a peek inside what is important to them. Thank you to Minerva Rosa, a customer of our CubeSmart store in Rahway, NJ, for sharing her story with us.
Minerva Rosa came to the Route 1 CubeSmart in Rahway, NJ, a few years ago because she needed a place to store her beloved collectibles.
"I've collected ceramic figurines for 25 years, and I want to make sure they're tucked away in a safe place where they won't get lost or broken. My husband has a habit of breaking things and not telling me, so I know when they're here they're in a safe habitat. It's so clean here and everyone is so nice—it's the right place for me."
Rose plans to eventually catalogue and sell the ceramics, a project she thinks could take up to two years, but she's not quite ready to let them go just yet. She has multiple collections but among those closest to her heart are the Denim Days figures, which remind her of growing up on in rural Puerto Rico. "They just bring me back to my childhood, the farm, the kids, the horses, the pigs, everything. I'm just a farm girl at heart."
In fact, she's still very tied to the land, and devotes much of her time to cultivating plants. At the nearby cape-style home she shares with her husband of 19 years, she has some 3,000 specimens. She keeps peach, apple, smoke, quince, Japanese maple and dogwood trees, plus hundreds of lilies, rosebushes, irises, sunflowers, clematis, zinnia, dahlia, milkweed and more. One of her rosebushes, she estimates, weighs about 200 pounds, and produced nearly 2,000 roses this past summer.
"She really went overboard this year. She kills me."
She proudly shares photos of the gardens, a riot of color in full bloom. To her neighbors she's known as "the plant lady." Despite her floral bounty, however, she doesn't like to cut flowers for vases but prefers to see them growing outside.
"If I want flowers for inside, I go to the flower shop. But I do have one friend whose nephew died of cancer and he loved sunflowers. So if she visits his grave and wants to bring sunflowers, I let her take anything she wants."
An entire eating garden contains all the vegetables Minerva needs to cook through the summer months, though she admits that her husband, a produce specialist, likes to use them more than she does.
"I like to prepare more of the Spanish foods, rice and beans, but everything with the fresh herbs I grow."
Minerva works at the Union County Utilities Department down the road, where she oversees trucks at the waste and energy facility. She plans to retire in five years and move back to her native Puerto Rico where she will luxuriate in the warm weather. Unfortunately, her home was destroyed during the hurricane, and it's going to require a lot of rebuilding, she explains tearfully.
"I don't like to talk about it. We lost everything. But I have big plans. Plans for the garden. I need to build a fence line. I need about five trucks of good dirt to get it going. It's all in my brain already. I keep saying, maybe I'm not up for this and then my husband says, ‘you'll do it. If I know you, you'll do it and it will be bigger than anything.'"
We’d love to hear how self storage has positively impacted your life. Share your #HumansofSelfStorage story in the comments.