Still Digging

November 6, 2013

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First, let me tell you how today ended. It will give you a sense of the amount of work that was done today.

Today ended in the hottest bubble bath I could stand, painted toes hanging off the faucet, hair piled on top of my head, submerged to my chin with a stack of cookies on the side of the tub. You would think after 56 minutes in there my muscles would start to forgive me, but you would be wrong.

We are both so, so wrong. But I’d still share my cookies with you.

What I have come to learn very quickly is that my grandmother kept everything. EVERYTHING. She might even have had some of your stuff – you should check, just in case. There was every card, every letter, every bank statement, every invitation. There were clay handprints from her boys (now in their 60s), pictures upon pictures upon pictures, and some very, very sweet letters between her and my grandfather in the early years of their marriage when he traveled quite a bit.

Some things were easily placed in the “donate” pile, some things were studied and placed in piles to organize. Some things just needed to be thrown away. But, like yesterday, it was a fascinating peek into 60 years of life in that house – and beyond.

A few things I came across today:

  • A picture of my grandmother with Julio Iglesias. Not even kidding.
  • The guest signature books for my great-grandparents’ funeral.
  • The invitations to my college and graduate school graduations.
  • Some truly spectacular golf pants pictures of my grandfather from some high-rolling times in Las Vegas.
  • 23 pairs of white gloves in everything from leather to cotton to silk. Short and opera length. I couldn’t even get them over my entire hand.
  • The white silk shoes my grandmother wore for her wedding in immaculate condition and, apparently, sized for a fairy.
  • Two very well-made wood boxes, trimmed in red and blue felt inside, made by my dad in shop class. Because jews take shop class? Apparently. A man that can work with his hands – is a very fine man.

You know, it’s funny. There are a few things that were sort of “unclaimed” by other family members that are now going to some really nice folks. That feels good. There are some things I’d like to send to some others because I think my grandparents would like that, and I know it’d be meaningful, but, well, best laid plans and all.

So tomorrow I’ll finish the cleaning out part, Friday a charity truck and a junk truck will arrive (two 1950s juicers, Meme?), and then that will be it. I’ll shoot some “before” pictures and toast to a house with great memories and great bones and what hopes to be a great reinvention.

But, until then, I foresee more scalding baths and way more cookies. You should join me. It’s nice in there.

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