breaking the chain – one link at a time

so, i feel safe in saying i will NOT make my “have grandma’s house ready to go by memorial day weekend” deadline…

…that being said, first weekend in june isn’t unrealistic.

by my guessitmation i’ll have all the house done this week, save for getting furniture and boxes moved out. with all the trash, treasure, and clutter it hasn’t been easy. and the fact that this shit should, by all rights, be done by three or more of us (instead of just me) i feel i’m progressing along nicely.

uncle arthur and aunt david even “helped”

the reason that’s in quotes is because he doesn’t so much “go through and sort” as he does compartmentalize. a good example is what SHOULD have been the master bedroom of the house (or so i’ll assume as it has an attached bathroom) but she instead used it as a library due to the volume of books that she owned. they spend fifteen hours and converted this room to the furniture, the closet contents and FORTY-TWO boxes of books, knick-nacks, and outright trash. (junk mail, old christmas paper, etc)

i went through and rescued all books from 1750-1899, which included several leather-bound volumes from the 1750’s, bibles from the early 1800’s in various languages, and a second edition (first edition with illustrations) of the adventures of tom sawyer. next week i’ll be bringing over the bookcase to hold all this stuff.

part of the hurdle we had when teri was in town and we were working on this was that once uncle arturo hit the house everything slowed down. dramatically. in part because, as my sister theorizes, he realizes that in the room are the end of the bloodline as far as my maternal side of the family is concerned. going back to the turn of the century (as in “1899 – 1900” not “1999 – 2K”) that side of the family had two girls…sara (my great aunt, who’s side of the family has done pretty well as far as kids, grand kids, etc are concerned) and kathryn (my grandmother). the latter had two kids – one gay (hence, no offspring) and my mom, who’s two kids are in their late thirties and i know i won’t be having any kids…feel safe in saying the same for my sister at this point.

so we’re kinda it.

as a result arthur feels the family history, no matter how minute the point, must continue orally so every blessed thing has to have it’s story told. “oh, we have to save that – that came from harrington park” i’ve heard so many times i can’t count. that was where my mom’s side of the family was before they moved to austin – harrington park, new jersey. this year marks SIXTY years since they moved to texas…but to uncle arthur it was just yesterday. so that crocheted tissue box cover done by the wife of the only dentist in harrington park, new jersey (circa 1951) has to be treated like a sacred relic of a bygone era versus, say, the tacky piece of trash that it is. those three paper napkins? the ones that have never been used? well, they still COULD be used, so we’d best to hold on to this, too.

and so on.

part of this i could go freudian on and go off for pages about the maternal worship bordering on obsession and how that plays into sexual orientation and what-not…but surprisingly, i won’t.

i think a far greater factor is the fact that my grandmother hit her early adulthood, got courted, married, and started her real adult life in the height of the great depression – where you didn’t throw ANYTHING away.

like mother, like son.

and i see a little of it in me. stuff i took from the house only a year ago i look at it and ask, “why the fuck did i save that?” i have to figure the same can be said for all the stuff i stashed away when my own mother passed. i’m almost forty – i am LONG overdue to clean and purge a lot of the material clutter out of my life. both hers, hers, hers, and mine (the “hers” referring to mom, grandma, and the third thrown in just to cover all exes that have left shit at my house that might still be floating around).

i see the mother of all yard sales coming this summer. pun intended.

also, a WHOLE lot of trash bags being filled.

like the bloodline, i think the trash pile needs to end with us…and i’m gonna fight tooth and nail to make that happen.

Next post:

Previous post: