During my travels, I bring little with me. Yes, I am currently awaiting a shipment from the UK, but we downsized a lot, and survive with very little. But for how long can I continue to not put down roots and own ALL the material possessions?
While I was gallivanting wild and free, my mother had a very different start to her summer. She went to my grandfather’s house and began going through everything preparing it to sell, keep or throw away–Chris and I arrived to help with the packing of what we would take with us, and we were there for only a couple of days. Maybe it is something about that generation, or just human nature, but they kept everything. I remember my grandmother always washing out and keeping every plastic container and they were all stored in what they called the ‘treasure room’. With my grandmother gone however, it was time to move my grandfather to live with them on the other end of the USA. But how do you move just a man, and not (for lack of a better word) his stuff?
Despite the all-american exterior of the house, as soon as you step inside you would know that my grandparents spent their lifetime in Japan. Priceless ceramics, wood carvings and calligraphy took up every bit of wall space and beyond.
Many works of art never even saw the light of day just by sheer amount. My grandmother had thrown herself head first into ikebana, and her collection of frogs and bowls is unparalleled in the USA.
Her costume and costly jewelry divided between my sister and I give us a feeling that she is still around, and in truth we kept as much as we possibly could…
Before I arrived, my mother put up signs in the neighborhood and at church for a massive sale. People not understanding the value of these objects got the bargain of a lifetime–but they will never know that. To them it looks like the cheap random stuff ‘from china’ and not the individually hand crafted antiques that they are. Incidentally she also sold the cutest couple green tea mugs which had the name of the train stop I grew up at on it. I cried a little bit, and bring it up often.
My mom later said it was a terribly sad day, and walking around the semi-empty house reduced even myself to tears. But change is good right? My grandfather is settled in with them now, and much of the wonderful treasures remain, just not all of it.
Its only stuff. But it was her stuff, and looking at it, I miss her.