Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Of estates and painted porcelain

I always feel just a bit ghoulish when we get a call to clean out an estate.

We get these sorts of calls with some degree of frequency…at least one or two a month. A parent or an aunt has died and the house needs to be cleaned out. Or a couple is retiring and moving to a smaller home or an assisted living facility. Whatever the reason, there is an attic or living room or basement full of books. And stuff. And something needs to be done with it all.

It is never a happy time. But it is something that needs to be done.

“Time to get rid of all this junk,” they say. “Why would anyone want to keep all this?”

It is usually a brave front. The person making the statement is often the same person who has taken responsibility for the cleaning out and is the same person who gave us a call in the first place. And this person invariably is a son or a granddaughter or close friend. It is a painful experience to sift through the relics of a life, or lifestyle, that is now past.

By the time we get involved, most of the really hard parts have been accomplished. We’re one of the last steps prior to selling the house or vacating the apartment.

The good part about this is that calluses have usually started to form over the really tender parts and a weariness has set in. They just want to be done with the whole thing. They want us to come and get it and just haul it away.

Usually, but not always.

There are occasions when we’re sucked into the process of closure. We’re told about the deceased or the one who is moving on; regaled with stories about his work, her family, their hobbies and travels, or Grandpa’s time in the army. And we can’t help but to envision this life that we’re evaluating and putting into boxes.

You can tell a lot about someone when you go through a bookshelf or a trunk or an attic. You can look at the books and tell at a glance whether that family preferred history or romance. Whether the books were well read or just acquired somewhere along the line. Whether they listened to classical music or show tunes or The Dave Clark Five.

And the certain amount of embarrassment when you come across that box of old Playboy magazines hidden away in a dark corner. (Funny how you never come across the collected works of Mark Twain in that dark corner.)

The ghoulishness comes in when you walk from room to room, asking if that old clock, or the record player, is available. How about that World War II uniform? “I’d be interested in that picture frame.”

Rummaging, and picking through the accumulated mementos of someone’s life.

“Do you want this?” we’re asked while being offered some trinket proudly displayed on a coffee table. It obviously was important to this household, but is close to meaningless to anyone else. We’ll take it, more to be polite than anything else. It helps to validate the life; maybe bring a little closure.

We’re doing one estate now. There have already been two protracted trips to the house. On the first, we pulled nearly 600 paperbacks out. Yesterday we returned for a second round and packed nearly that many hardcover books. There will be one more trip later this week to finish up. The questions were more for what we didn’t take.

“None of the records?” No, sorry. No one wants “The Many Moods of Bobby Vinton” these days. And I’m afraid I will pass on the 8-tracks, too. I just won’t be able to sell “A Boston Pops Christmas” on 8-track. But I will take the stereo. A silent nod of the head in sad, but understanding, assent. I’ve just disparaged an important element in someone’s life.

“But a lot of this is very good stuff,” I hasten to add. “We’ll find a good home for these books.”

I try to be affirming. It is the word of a professional giving an expert evaluation.

Now I’ve just got to figure out what to do with this porcelain figurine of a nondescript bird with “Miami” painted on the base.

18 comments:

  1. The bustle in a house
    The morning after death
    Is solemnest of industries
    Enacted upon earth, -

    The sweeping up the heart,
    And putting love away
    We shall not want to use again
    Until eternity.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This information is really informative, Kolkata escorts service are best provided by http://www.kolkataescort-service.co.in/

    Kolkata escorts services

    Escorts in Kolkata

    Kolkata escorts

    Kolkata call girls

    Call girls in Kolkata

    Independent kolkata escorts

    ReplyDelete
  3. This information is really informative, Kolkata escorts service are best provided by http://www.kolkatavipescortsagency.co.in/

    Kolkata escorts

    Kolkata escorts services

    Escorts in Kolkata

    Kolkata call girls

    Call girls in Kolkata

    Independent kolkata escorts

    ReplyDelete
  4. This information is really informative, Kolkata escorts service are best provided by http://www.kolkatavipmodels.co.in/

    Visit here: http://www.kolkatavipmodels.co.in/
    8420161554


    Kolkata escorts

    Kolkata escorts services

    Escorts in Kolkata

    Kolkata call girls

    Call girls in Kolkata

    Independent kolkata escorts

    ReplyDelete
  5. High Profile Mumbai escorts welcome you to the world of Ho Escort Service in Mumbai. Get best Mumbai Andheri escorts from full fill enjoyment vile Parle escorts.

    High Profile Mumbai escorts

    vile parle escorts

    khar road escorts

    Mira road escorts

    andheri escorts

    powai escorts

    Mumbai Escorts Services

    Mumbai Escorts


    http://mumbaiescortservices.co/
    http://mumbaiescortservices.co/about-us.html
    http://mumbaiescortservices.co/services.html
    http://mumbaiescortservices.co/gallery.html
    http://mumbaiescortservices.co/rates.html
    http://mumbaiescortservices.co/contact-us.html

    ReplyDelete
  6. Jaipur escort
    Jaipur escorts
    Call girls Jaipur
    Escorts in jaipur

    We are offering Hi class Jaipur Escorts at very affordable prices. We have college girls, Jaipur Model escorts, independent escorts in jaipur for your full sexual desires.. Just visit our website to get latest models portolio….


    ReplyDelete
  7. Best SEO Company India which offers excellent best Internet Marketing Company Hire Professional SEO & web Development Company in India as per your business needs."

    Best Internet Marketing Company in india
    Best Internet Marketing Company
    SEO Services India
    Best SEO Company India
    SEO Company in India
    Best SEO Company In india


    https://www.iaptris.com/
    info@iaptris.com
    support@iaptris.com
    9999669114

    ReplyDelete
  8. luxurycarsrentaldubai is a leading Dubai Car Rental company offering services of Car Hire with Driver in Dubai. For more details please visit http://www.luxurycarsrentaldubai.co/

    Luxury Cars Rental Dubai
    Luxury Car Rental Dubai

    Visit here: http://www.luxurycarsrentaldubai.co/
    info@luxurycarsrentaldubai.co
    +971 56 845 2520

    ReplyDelete
  9. Rac Luxury Rental is Luxury Car Rental in Dubai.we Offers on sports car rental Dubai,rent luxury car Dubai, exotic car rental in Dubai. Rent lamborghini,farrari,audi,bentley,BMW,Mclaren,Mercedes,Porche,Range rover,Bugatti,Rolls Royce,etc call:- +971 56 845 2520

    Luxury Cars Rental Dubai
    Luxury Car Rental Dubai

    Visit Here: http://www.racluxuryrental.com/
    +971 56 845 2520

    ReplyDelete
  10. We’re a local roastery based in the heart of the Ottawa Valley. Since 1998, we’ve been roasting and delivering fresh coffee each and every week. We have a passion for good coffee and a deep respect for the people who grow it.

    Fair trade coffee in Canada
    Weekly delivery in Canada
    Direct trade coffee in Canada
    Single origin coffees Canada
    Espresso best Canada
    Espresso best Canada
    coffee roaster Canada
    coffee roastery in Canada

    Visit here: https://www.equator.ca/
    Elgin St.
    Ottawa, ON K1P 5W1
    equatornac.cna@gmail.com
    613.563.7771

    ReplyDelete
  11. Enjoy our short video promoting Paithalmala Tourism. We are located inside the natural landscape of Paithalmala, which is the highest geographic peak in Kannur, located about 65 km from Kannur, becoming a favorite location for nature enthusiasts, creative photographers and international travelers


    Paithalmala Tourism

    Visit here: https://paithalmalatourism.org/

    Paithal Mala, Chandanakampara Road,, Near Paithal Mala, Vanchium., Kannur, Kerala 670582, India

    +91 9605482389 | 0460 2219062

    ReplyDelete
  12. Find the best Property Management Software We provide integrated property management software
    Property Management Software

    http://www.myirent.com/
    9194736805

    ReplyDelete
  13. Cheapest Tickets with special offers for theme parks, attraction, tour, zoo, animal kingdom and universal studio in San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, New york, Orlando, San Diego, Niagara, Chicago and more - All Park Tickets in USA

    All Park Tickets

    Visit here: http://www.allparktickets.com/

    ReplyDelete
  14. 7M Tours appreciates the support of all of our travelers, agents and suppliers. Please contact us if you have any questions or comments for us. Thank you for your continued business!

    USA Tour Operator
    Canada tour packages
    South America tour operator
    USA student groups educational tours
    USA student group tours packages
    USA budget fixed tours packages
    brazil tour operator

    Visit here: http://7mtours.com/

    ReplyDelete
  15. Orlandoprinters is one of the leading suppliers of digital printing. The state of the art printing technology we use in our production process gives our customers the best print quality. We are expertise in all kinds of gifts for corporate needs, Industries, Institutions, Banks, Hotels, Social clubs.

    banner standss
    best car wrap
    best yard signs
    blank yard signs
    business cards orlando
    car wrap design orlando
    car wraps orlando
    cheap printing orlando
    cheap t-shirts


    Visit here: http://www.orlandoprinters.com/

    ReplyDelete