Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Closing Up the Arapahoe House

Is it heartless of Kate and me to pull Mom and Dad's treasured belongings - dishes and figurines and table linens and silver tea sets - from cupboards and drawers and spread them all on the dining room table in order to coolly inventory and photograph them so that we and our brother John and seven grandchildren can choose the belongings we'd like to incorporate into our own homes or own, simply to remember Doris and Dean?
Or, perhaps we undertake this task with plenty of heart, because as we work away at this disassembling of a home, we continually recount stories and bits of family history. We are ever curious about which possessions each grandchild will select from a very long list of belongings. We marvel and laugh at how each of us is drawn to very different possessions. There is little overlap. And what will our brother want in order to remember?
It takes a lot of time and effort to dissemble a home. Mother warned Kate a couple of years before she died when she said, "You girls have a big job ahead of you."
Yes, Mom, we do have a big job.
This morning, I'll take a car load of things we think no one will want to a thrift shop on Crown Hill. Then I'll check in with Dad at his adult family home. He'll want updates.
I also have a few things to show him like the small oval jewelry gift box embellished with a bouquet of pansies. Last night, I opened this cardboard box and found a note from Mom, "Dean gave me this on our wedding day, April 12, 1941. A string of pearls I wore for many years until they disintegrated. Also, Dean's Magna Cum Laude ribbon from Houghton College, 1938. DBT."
This house cleaning is fraught with emotions. Laughter, stories and tears.

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