How to begin? There have been no recent posts from me because we have been in North Tonawanda, New York for the past two weeks. North Tonawanda is in western New York between Niagara Falls and Buffalo. We were there working on my husband’s childhood home, doing an estate sale and then cleaning and painting the house and getting it ready to sell. Curt’s Father died last August and we had to put his Mom in a care center last fall, so he and his siblings were left to deal with a house on a very large lot. My husband and his siblings had each taken memory items, but then they were left with the accumulated stuff of 60 years of living. My Father-in-law (much like my husband) was a pack-rat. He was a carpenter/handyman/gardener and had tons of tools and stuff. He was the guy you went to and asked, “Do you have a file?” and he could go upstairs in the garage, a garage with a genuine hardwood floor like a dance hall that he salvaged from their church when it was replaced in the early 70s, and get 25 files out for you to choose from.
Last fall my husband’s sibs had two garage sales – mostly stuff from the garage and basement because Ma wouldn’t let them touch the main household. They took a couple of loads of metal to the salvage yard and lined up the curb with bags and bags of garbage. No, my in-laws weren’t hoarders. Even with all that done, we spent four days going through the remaining stuff, hauling things up from the basement and down from the attic, going through the dressers and drawers, tagging and pricing. Of course there was the furniture, old and really old. Some nice, some so-so.
We found some fun things. The kid’s toys saved for the grand kids to play with?
And then some curious items. Antiques? Maybe, maybe not.
My Father-in-law was a carpenter. He built the house we were working in and on. Did he wear this apron to hold his nails? Cataract Lumber, got to love it!
These things and a lot more had stories that went with them. Some the family knew but there were many more we had no idea about. For me, it was interesting, a glimpse into my husband’s life before I knew him. For him, it was a trip down memory lane. Going through all of this stuff generated a lot of conversation between him and his brothers and sister. We spent four days preparing and two and a half days selling all of the stuff that makes a life, a family.
The morning following the sale we received news that my husband’s mother had passed away in her sleep. It was as if she knew we were all here together, the sons from Wisconsin and New York, the daughter from Arizona, the third son only a couple of hours away in Kentucky…and it was time to join her husband. Harold was 89 and Jane was 85 when they died. Here’s to their fine, fruitful and good lives. They will be missed.