Sunday, July 17, 2016

Where Our Treasures Reside - a Goodbye Story

I am back from a long trip to clean out my folks' home in prep for its sale. I lived in that home for half my childhood. My folks have been there about fifty years. It is not easy to say goodbye to a half century of 'stuff', but for all its angst, there were many moments of joy and rediscovery.

All my siblings came. It was a grand reunion, and a testimony to the love of family that all of them showed up to support each other emotionally and help in this often difficult task. We found thousands of pictures. Many, my parents had not seen in decades, like the one of them just after their marriage in the photo above.

This one is of four of the five siblings (I am second from right.) We are standing in front of the house in Illinois, the homebase of my years working at the farm that spawned my four-book coming-of-age series. I remember that dress fondly. It was my very favorite. I felt like a movie star in that dress. I stayed about the same height. John, to my right towers a good foot or so over me now.

In the photo above, my aunt is watching us as we tumble down the massive sand dunes at Truro, Cape Cod. Many summers we went to the Cape on vacation. They are some of the fondest memories of my life. My cousins were BEYOND cool, but still seemed to like us.

My sisters and I looked at old photographs till we could barely hold our eyes open. We took many digital photos, saved a few photographs, and had to throw many out. None of us wanted to accumulate piles of new possessions our kids would have to sort through one day, or that we would have to repack each time we downsized to a new home.

We each picked a few precious mementos from our old home. The week progressed, and one by one, the siblings left. The last night, I was all alone in my old, unairconditioned house. (Yes, no AC, and the temps were in the 90s the whole week....)

The last morning, I was up at 5 a.m.  I wandered from room to room, saying goodbye. I did not realize I would be emotional, since I had not lived there in 36 years, but tears streamed out of me as I closed the windows and whispered, "Goodbye house."

My car was already full, but I grabbed a last few dusty old things. My little teak wood cat my folks bought me 50 years ago, a small heron statue my mom loved, a picture sister Amy had painted. Then I took the chimes down that had rung for fifty years outside the front door and laid them on the chair. My parents would be able to reach them then, and rehang them on the deck outside their apartment.
I locked the front door for the last time and stood looking at the house, lingering to be sure it had finished saying goodbye to me.

Matthew 6: 19-21
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

1 comment:

  1. Awww. Thanks for all your help! You looked terrific, your energy was great, and it was so good to see you.