Monday, September 19, 2005

42 year's worth of stuff

About a week ago my brother and I went to WV to help clean out my Grandpa’s house. He’s moved into an assisted living center, a pretty nice one, and he decided to sell his house.

We were cleaning out 42 years of someone’s life. Paw-Paw (that’s West Virginian for Grandpa) decided what he wanted to take with him, what he wanted to give away and told the kids (my aunts and uncles) to get rid of the rest.

A little background might be in order. My Mom is the oldest of five kids. Her Dad died when she was 14 and my Maw-Maw married my Paw-Paw, who had two kids. At one point they all lived in this three bedroom, one and a half bath house. I don’t know how they did it. Now the kids are scattered, one died, two still live in WV and my Maw-Maw died six years ago. For the kids this was an especially hard time, cleaning out the house. This is where most of them grew up, the only house they remember living in. For me it wasn’t quite as bad because for me the heart of the house, my Maw-Maw, has been gone for awhile.

So the kids decided to divvy up the things Paw-Paw wanted to get rid of. It’s sad to think that everything you worked for just gets gone, either trashed, given away or taken by someone. I understand you can’t take it with you, but it still seems sad.

It was interesting to me to see the things people wanted, the every day things that you’d never give a second thought to. After the big things were divided, the furniture etc. it became harder because emotions were more involved. One of my aunts held up a pink glass bowl and smile while she asked, what did we eat out of this? Banana pudding was the response. I’m sure my Maw-Maw never gave it a thought when she put the banana pudding in the same bowl time after time, but it’s something they all remembered.

When we left, my brother and I ended up with quite a lot of things. Nothing really of any monetary value, though I do have a nice big freezer in my garage now that the Hubby is determined to fill with sour dough creations, but the things I do have make me smile.

I have a set of marshmallow roasting tongs—I remember using them many times on camping trips with my grandparents, and now we’ll use them in our backyard. We have a fire pit and roast marshmallows and make smores all the time.

I have two worn old blankets Maw-Maw used to curl up on the couch with, they’re so soft.

Maw-Maw was a puzzle working woman. Many times when I’d spend the night with her we’d sit up watching The Tonight Show, Love Boat and Fantasy Island working puzzles and drinking watered down coffee, usually waiting for the youngest two aunts to come in from their dates. Sometimes Maw-Maw shellacked the puzzles together, framed them, and hung them on the wall. I have one of those. A work of art? Nope, but it reminds me of her and makes me happy.

Going through boxes I found a datebook/calendar from 1996. There are odd notes in it, lists of family names with items written by them, her handwriting, my handwriting, I kept it. It was the only time I broke down and cried the whole weekend, not bad for a person who’s normally a blubbering idiot.

The best thing I got that weekend was a bunch of peonies I dug from her yard. She had a huge bush planted under a magnolia tree in her front yard and I took some and have planted it under the magnolia in my backyard. I hope it lives.

BTW--the Boy's doing much better. I got an email from his teacher today, she says he's great (don't I know it!) and though he still has some issues with losing, transitioning and sitting still, he's improving. Yahoo!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reality check! The seemingly unimportant details of our lives and personalities will become the immortal memories of other lives we have touched.