16 May 2011

Your ring? Said the Piggy, I will.

Finally, we've started cleaning out my mother's house and making it ready for sale. I spent 24 hours there over the weekend, and came back with a carload of oddments and nostalgia, including (but by no means limited to):

  • A shilling.
  • The blue chenille bathrobe I took to college with me.
  • My junior high school, high school and college yearbooks.
  • A green glass vase, 5' tall.
  • The Mar 3, 1980 cover of the New Yorker, framed, because my mother (rightly) thought it looked just like my college dorm common room.
  • A cashmere hat, pale blue, that my mother bought new at a thrift shop.
  • A koa wood box that I gave my mother for Christmas once, bought in the town I went to college in (I know this because the tag was in the box).
  • An unopened package of 50 envelopes.
  • The ticket stub from an inadvertently hysterical concert we attended in 1991, where the audience was instructed to "make the noise you need to make" to "raise the cone of power".
  • Three flower arranging devices.
  • An army green can of saddle soap, from when my father was in the Marine Corps, labeled
    Do not use as food container
  • My Stieff teddy bear, all four paws patched with new felt because the moths had once gotten to him and exposed his excelsior stuffing.
  • The birthday cake plate of my youth, flat, Italian.
  • A salad spinner, the twin of the one we already have, but not cracked.
  • The Karinska book I once gave my mother.
  • The gaudy yellow, red, blue and kelly green quilt that my mother and I made in 1975. It lived on my bed in my kelly green room, until my mother redecorated that room in more soothing shades of blue.
  • My paternal uncle's French "verb wheel", from prep school?
  • A small rake.
  • An ancient green glass jar of fuller's earth dusting powder.
  • A baseball cap from a Harvard-Yale game, emblazoned "Impale Yale". I've boxed it up to send it to my college boyfriend, who went to Harvard, and whose son now goes to Yale.
  • The brass key fob from room 28 of the Hotel d'Albe in Fountainebleau.
  • One of THE two copies of Fantastic Mr. Fox - which leads me to wonder, if there were two copies, why have I never read it?
  • An autograph book, with signatures dated between 1899 and 1905. I've no idea whose it was. My great-grandmother, perhaps. Maybe I'll send it to the historical society in Athens.
  • More index cards.
  • Some sedum to tuck into my stone wall, and some bamboo to plant down at the way bottom of my garden (where it can ramble without prejudice). [Digging things out of the garden was not strictly necessary.]
  • A jump rope.
  • The tassel from my mortarboard.
  • A baton (for conducting, not for baton twirling).
  • A tidily folded bit of tissue paper, marked "my tooth is in here".
And this is only the tip of the iceberg.


Liz Miller said...

I love this list of ephemera.

Liz W said...

I think you need to check into Room 28 next week; which hotel again?

the queen said...

a) You mean a frog? As if we don't know the proper names for flower-arranging devices!
b) Have you noticed yet there are things in your mother's house that you have never noticed? There were a number of mirrors at Mom's that I have looked at every dya of my lofe, and only noticed them when nothing else was in the room.

bipolarlawyercook said...

Oh, excelsior Teddy.

RuthWells said...

That is a lovely list. I'm bit worried about that bamboo, though...

Rima said...

Wait a minute. There's a device for arranging flowers? It is like a robot hand?

Harriet said...

Did I know you went to Fontainebleau? Now I'm wracking my brains to remember what room I was in. When were you there? I have pictures of it, but I don't think I have the room number. In any case, this is an excellent list. I am flabbergasted by the notion of a vase that is 5 feet tall and not a Grecian urn. And I am also wondering if a cone of power is anything like a cone of silence.

Life in Eden said...

I love this. I find you and your mom so very very interesting.

and you are still in touch with your college boyfriend -- cool. I married mine, so no such relationship.

YourFireAnt said...

Oh this is hard. It makes my chest all fill up with voice.

We couldn't clear out our house for three years after Mom died. Even after the last meal we all gathered for there.

Take heart, my dear.

shrink on the couch said...

A shilling for your thoughts, a penny for your feelings.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I love birthday cake plates--maybe a photo for next Wordless Wednesday?

MDTaz said...

Cleaning out your childhood home, or the home of your parents, is like curating your own history, isn't it? What an odd assortment of things they kept, and we kept, or they kept for us -- and now we keep keeping it. Funny what we choose to save, those sentimental objects that carry some magic for us to hold again.

I think when we move the last boxes of things I intend to keep from my mother's house (still not sold yet - sigh), I will put little notes inside for my daughters to find when they have to go through my things. Little notes to make them laugh - and maybe urge them to throw it away!

Trevor Laurence said...

Index cards and a golf pencil, if I'm remembering correctly, sitting in a ceramic jar in the kitchen.