If I had to choose a single word to represent all of 2014, I think that word would be – boxes. Lots and
My Grandma (who is one of my personal heroes, and I seriously hope that I am like her when I am her age) finally, at 93, decided that it was time to move out of her house and into a retirement apartment. The house has now been sold and moving plans have been made.
So she is cleaning out her house. Aggressively cleaning out her house. She has lived there for more then 60 years, so there is a lot of stuff to pull out and go through. John and I went to visit her while we were in Cleveland this past weekend, and ended up leaving her house with a trunk full of boxes of memories.
“You like it? Take it!”
I understand the sentiment and the necessity behind her directive. I know that it makes Grandma happy to know that her cherished belongings are going to people who will appreciate them and continue to use them. I know this, and it still makes me sad to pack up boxes of her stuff and put them in my car. Because it is change, and I think of it as a sad change – an end of an era. I am happy that Grandma wants to make sure that I have these things, but the implications make me sad.
I have some of the Russian nesting dolls and other old wooden toys that I used to play with when I was little. (A snafu with the dolls, I accidentally gave my aunt some nesting dolls that my Mom wanted to keep. Sorry, Mom. There were only a few small ones left when I went to Grandma’s and I will bring those back for you when I come to visit next.)
I have some afghans that Grandma’s Mom (or Grandmother, which would be my great-Grandma or great-great-Grandma) crocheted. (I am actually not totally clear on who actually made them, and I think that Grandma wasn’t 100% sure herself.)
I have a fancy blue-and-white doily that my great-great-Grandma tatted.
I have my Grandma’s old travel journals from the 1930s and 1940s. I have a lot of memories of going up to the attic bedroom/playroom/workroom when I was younger, pulling the journals off of the bookshelf, and paging through them.
I have some more antique glass pieces, including a green pedestal candy dish that belonged to my great-Grandma and that is the “mate” of the yellow one that I received for Christmas last year. (I have a lot of antique glass now, and an upcoming project will be to appropriately photo-document, identify, and note down all relevant family stories on each piece. I also have a bunch of books on antique glassware, which should help supplement Grandma’s notes on all of her pieces.)
I have a carved wooden egg that I always admired, that belonged to my great-Grandfather.
I have a serving tray decorated with dogwood blossoms, strawberries, and other fruits and flowers that was one of Grandma’s wedding presents. Grandma would always use that tray at Easter to display her Ukrainian Easter Eggs. I have some of the eggs as well – blown and hand-painted ones as well as some carved and painted wooden ones.
John took a couple of boxes of my Grandfather’s old hand-tools. (We can use a lot of them on the boat.) When we were in the workshop corner of the basement looking through his old (all hand made) workbenches and tool cabinets was actually the first time that I can remember being back in that corner of the basement. When my brothers and I were little, my Grandfather used to admonish us not to go near his workbench and tools – “It is too dangerous! You could hurt yourself” – and it made such an impression on me that even after he died, I never went back there.
My house now has a lot of things that I remember and used and played with and admired at Grandma’s house. And the fact that they are at my house now makes them not quite the same things that I remember. Ahhh, it is hard to explain… Everything just has a different feel, now that they is out of the context (Grandma’s house) in which I was used to seeing them for so long.
She will move while we are on vacation, so I won’t be able to go back to Cleveland to help out one last time.
That was the last time that I will ever see her in her house. In the house that she moved into when she and Grandpa first got married. The house that we always went to for holidays and birthdays and other events and celebrations. Where will we go for Christmas and Thanksgiving now? (Logically I know that we will have those holidays at my parents’ house, but it will take some getting used to.)
While we were there last weekend, I ran around and took pictures around the house. I wish that I had done so sooner, while everything looked the way that I remember and before there were boxes and packing material all over.