If you read my post, “Nobody’s Home,” you know that I recently sold my house. What you probably don’t know is that I was planning to not sell my house, and have my mom move into it. After reading those sentences you might have correctly deduced that my mom did not, in fact, move into my house.
I’m the only child in the state, and even though Mom is not what you would consider old, it just seemed like a good idea for her to make the move sooner rather than later. It seemed like an idea, anyway.
That hadn’t always been the plan. A few months after I moved in with my partner, we were talking about selling my house. One day around that time, as I was stopping off at my house to check my mail, a voice in my head that may have been mine said, “Your mom could live here.”
So I told Stacy, and he agreed. Shortly after that, we met my mom, and she agreed. We were all in agreement: Mom would move here, live in my house, and pay me for the bills. Everything would stay in my name, because that would “make it all so much easier when she was gone”. I wasn’t expecting her to die anytime soon, but she had a horrible time settling her mother’s estate, and didn’t want to put me through that.
Mom was my Gram’s executor. My Gram was my Grandmom’s executor. So aside from her own belongings, Mom has boxes upon boxes from Gram and Grandmom. A sweet colleague and friend of ours lent us her horse trailer. Stacy and I drove down to the town where Mom lives, and filled the horse trailer to the roof. Our truck bed also held a load that was straining the bungee cords and ratchet straps. We brought it all up, and unloaded it into my garage.
At some point in time, between that time and a year later, Mom wasn’t any closer to being ready for the move. I went down to my hometown several times to discuss specifics with her. Then when it was only a few days away from her move, she and I had a disagreement, and she decided not to move, after all.
This is where I’d like you to take a moment to recall that we filled a horse trailer and a truck bed with boxes from my Gram and Grandmom, plus stuff of my mom’s, brought it up here, and unloaded it into my garage.
I now had a house that I didn’t live in, and that house’s garage was full of Someone Else’s Things.
Boxes of China — multiple sets: Were they my Grandmom’s? Were they my Gram’s? Did someone buy them at a garage sale?
Boxes of milk glass: Are they family heirlooms? Did they come from rummage sales?
A box of jelly jars: Did some of my relatives drink out of these when they were kids? Did my mom drink out of these when she was a kid?
Other boxes full of items with no semblance of cohesion — no rhyme or reason — as to what is in them.
Mom spent her time growing up between my Gram’s house (wherever that was at the time) and Grandmom’s house. My Gram was only 18 when she had my mom. Maybe that wasn’t a big deal in 1950, but in 2018, it seems pretty young, still, to me. I don’t know the details, but Gram was not a very good mom to Mom, so when I was growing up, I didn’t spend much time with Gram, in spite of the fact that she lived in the same town.
I did know my Grandmom. She and my Grandpa Henry (who wasn’t my grandpa at all, but that’s a story for another day) lived on the family farm in Wisconsin. Because of the distance, I only remember ever seeing them at Christmas. The last time I saw her, I must have been in middle school. She would have been too old and frail to travel when I was in high school.
So now I have alloftheboxes of things, from people to whom I have a blood connection, but no other real bond. I don’t know if any of the items held in the boxes are sentimental. I don’t know if any of the items contained in the boxes have monetary value. I don’t know if any of the items traveled here from Germany with Grandmom’s Aunt Tillie.
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
So now, I’m selling Someone Else’s Stuff, and Everything Must Go.
Do you have any family mysteries?
What’s something you wish you knew about your family history?