You know, I am NOT a holiday person. I do celebrate Buy Nothing Day and Festivus.
This year will be the first year in many that I have not spent at least part of the long Thanksgiving weekend at my mother’s house. She passed away a year and a half ago. Today was supposed to be the day that we closed on the sale of her house. I’m very attached to places (my grad mentor described me as having a great sense of place, which I never even knew was a thing) and this sale has been difficult for me, even though I knew that I’d never want to return there to live and it was too time-consuming and expensive to hang on to the house. Well, the closing didn’t go through, but I assume that it will happen soon. It’s not a lot of money but I’ll pay off my home equity loan and put the rest into my rainy day account.
At least the clearing out of the stuff is finished. There were surprises and treasures along with every piece of paper that she ever touched. We left a little over half the furniture there for the next owner to use. Much went to the thrift store that supports the Boys and Girls Home in Lake Waccamaw, which was her chosen charity. Much went to the dumpster, burn barrel, and recycling center. A lot went to used bookstores and recycled art supply stores such as Shelf Life in Greensboro and the Scrap Exchange in Durham. I brought back a lot of crystal that I will never use, and I donated about half of it to the history department to use for receptions. There’s a possibility that we might have an exhibition of her paintings at the Pecan Festival in southeastern North Carolina next year. We couldn’t get it together in time for this year when my sister was asked about it.
With the pending sale of this house there are many mixed feelings. A huge sense of relief mixed with disbelief. We have worried about and dreaded inheriting this house for years before Mama died. The dread didn’t even prepare us adequately for how many garbage bags or boxes we would need to clean out just one stuffed and overflowing closet. We would go in with the determination that we would knock out most of it many, many times, and we always vastly underestimated what needed to be done.
I do not want one of my relatives to have to do this when I am gone. I have to get myself together and my clutter and hoarded boxes of stuff OUT.
The disbelief comes in because we can’t quite process the fact that we are done. The relief won’t be complete until then. And that the only home that together my sister, brother and I have ever known will be out of our hands, although I’m sure it will not ever be out of our hearts.
But there were treasures too.
No one ever accused my daddy of being shy and unassuming.
My mother was a real looker and she knew it. This is one of the houses she grew up in. Country girl. Learned how to take care of herself and made sure that we all did too.
There’s no doubt that I have much scanning and cataloging of photos to do. There are photos going back to the mid-19th century. Unfortunately, nobody thought to write on the backs of them. Some of them are tintypes.
Anyway, I’m heading to Lake Waccamaw to have Thanksgiving with my family at my sister’s new home. I’m going to try to finish up this little weaving while I’m there, tentatively titled “Migraine Day.” The sides are a mess, so it might be a sample. This is the first time I’ve used twill and wedge weave in a tapestry. I did have a warped perspective the day I designed it.
2 thoughts on “Heading into the holidays”
Your mother was beautiful. I’m glad you got the house sold. Bittersweet and all, it’s got to be a burden lifted. It’s funny…I had the same reaction when my dad died – I don’t want my kids having to go through the stuff I opted to hold on to and feel some obligation not to part with it. I’m doing it myself, now. It’s hard, but it’s pretty liberating, too. ❤