|Denine-in-the-Box: College Graduation Photo from|
Mom's Private Collectoin
I know there is plenty of furniture to which I have no emotional attachment. Perhaps, without knowing it, I practiced first by having the Got Junk guys come to pick up the family heirloom first: The Antique Couch (see 1-800-Junk-Therapy, 3.24.12) At least there is nothing in the storage facility that will have the same power, at least in the furniture category.
I know there will be boxes of mementos which I am planning to just haul back home for another day. And there is an odd antique ashtray set that was my mother's pride and joy. Sitting on the sofa last night, trying to figure out what to do with this item made me realize that if there was one thing my mother would come back from the grave to "get me" for, it would be this albatross. I have decided that the better part of valor is to keep it, much as it would be fun to see my mom again.
9:15 - I arrive at Public Storage only to realize that they haven't changed the lock and there's no way to get into the room. I wait. I fume. I rage, rage against the dying of the light. Then I realize that I have have the keys to the current lock on my keychain. Problem solved.
9:40 - I lift the gate to the storage room. So far so good. No ghosts or goblins or scary things waiting for me, at least not in plain view. Just a lot of furniture and a few boxes. I plow through the family photos the never-worn sandals, and the loads and loads of china some of which I know came from my mother's mother or my father's mother. I wonder to myself: Shouldn't their be a statute of limitations on this stuff? I mean Limoges is beautiful but I just don't have a antimacassar, humidor and Limoges kind of life. I own a microwave an iPhone and several other things that begin with "i".
Nonetheless, I move that box to my car. I'll deal with that when I can deal with that. In the same box, I notice that my mother has saved the very first art project ever that I did in Mr. Stoffel's free-spirited art class in high school -- a hideous chunk of white plaster born from the ungodly womb of a milk carton and upon which I had carved a highly derivative Picasso-esque "sculpture". Right next to that is the very first ceramic pot that I had ever thrown on a potter's wheel in the same class. Although the bowl is only 3" wide by 2" high, it weighs about 20 pounds as a result of the thickness of it's sides. It would make a more effective weapon than anything else. And yet, she held on to it since I gave it to her in 11th grade (1972).
|L to R: Woman's photo that came in the frame (I thought that was funny); |
My brother, Jay, in red frame; Me and Sam standing in front of car;
My niece, Jane, in large oval frame; Me in red frame;
My brother Jay and I in gold frame.
It's in the high 80's outside so I grab a swig of Smart Water and move to the next box. It's all books: Dorothy Parker, Edna Ferber, John Steinbeck, Carson McCullers. It's then that I start sobbing. It hits me so fast it nearly takes my breath away. There is something about reading the names on the covers, knowing they were her favorite authors, and I hear her voice in my head repeating their names and saying how much she loves them. And it's not lost on me that she taught me to write and to love writing the way I do. I grab some Kleenex in the front seat of my car and cry it out and I'm just so glad that my Got Junk buddies aren't showing up until 11:00.
|Got Junk "Ghostbusters" P.J. and Zach|
11:50 - By now the truck is loaded and the storage room is completely empty. It feels like a small miracle. And I can't believe how good it feels to know that this little 5x6 room, with all its power and all its memories has been resolved. It's like Ghostbusters came this morning instead of 1-800-Got Junk. As I drive away toward ARC Value Village in New Hope to donate some of my Mom's special art prints that will help support their mission for DD kids (I know she would like that), I feel this tremendous weight lift from my shoulders. Ten months ago, just thinking about these items overwhelmed me and now I am sending them on their way. I'm smart enough to know that I have only dispersed some of the physical manifestations of my mother's passing. But I am also smart enough to know that this is a very big step forward. One she would approve of if she were here.