Saturday, May 06, 2006


Today Ned and I went through the house deciding what we will keep and what will go in the Estate Sale. Although we are not keeping a lot of furniture, I'm afraid we are keeping too much. Add to that boxes of books, dishes and special pieces of folk art, paintings, the photography collection, negatives and prints........Wow. We are going to have a lot to pack and store.

As we went through the house deciding what to keep, we tried to use as a criteria....what is unique? What will make another house look like us. But it is very hard not to remember when something was bought and sometimes how precious it was because of the time or how hard it was to pay for it. It is hard to stay focused on "sorting" because you tend to stop and look.....look at old High School and College Annuals or at individual Christmas decorations....and remember and talk, "Do you remember when?"

There was a company in Houston called The Christmas Furniture Company. They made pine furniture from the most beautiful hard pine I have ever seen. Those old pine forests are gone. The pieces are solid wood, the tops are thick slabs of pine but the pine isn't a dark blackish pine that was typical of the time it was bought. Instead it is a beautiful warm wood color. It is early American style but simple almost like the Shaker style. I have two end/table-chests and a 48-inch round pedestal table. It is time to let them go. The table is the hardest to let go. My sons grew up eating at that table.

Another thing that it is hard to decide about....lamps. I have two original Stiffel lamps and two painted porcelain lamps by Frederick Cooper. The Estate Sale person I interviewed today told me that I can't get very much for them but if I were to try to replace them they would be even more expensive than I paid for them. I guess the style today are the black stick contemporary type lamps.

My Mom died and then several years later my Dad. My sister and I were getting no where at cleaning out their house. We would open drawers or closets and just get lost in what was there. Finally we had a friend who came in and started finding new homes for stuff. She didn't have the memories or the grief that we had at that time. She would say, "The women's shelter can use this." Or "I think the Catholic resale shop can sell this." So in short order it was done. Thank God for her. We could have been weeks.

Our time is limited. We are going to have to stay unemotional and stay focused and plow through.

Yesterday we went and bought some boxes, bubble wrap, shrink wrap and tape....we have started but there is so much to do, I'm kind of overwhelmed. I'm not sure where to start.


Anonymous said...

Do your sons want any of your stuff? That would keep it in the family where you could visit it.

There might be some pieces that your grandsons would like later. I know when my grandparents died and we cleaned out their house, there were certain items that just said "them" to me, and I like having those items now. There might be some things that your grandsons associate with you.

That might only be a few pieces, but you never know. Your sons might remember that table as fondly as you do. I know it must be hard to let go.


Brenda said...

It's difficult isn't it? I have several large pieces of solid elm furniture, which I had special ordered and waited for 6 months to get. At the time (25 years ago) they were a big expense and now they are impossible to replace as you can no longer buy elm furniture(here anyway) because the Dutch Elm Disease put all the manufacturers out of business. I love the look of these pieces and when walking by them never fail to reach out and touch the lovely wood. Needless to say they will have to go. For some reason these pieces mean so much more to me than the oak furniture that I have. Maybe because I had to scrimp and save to buy them at the time. I know it is just "stuff"; but as you say the pieces also hold our memories. Isn't it nice that we don't have to leave our memories behind.

BillieS said...

Leigh, the sons have been told to come get anything they want and have spoken up for a few things.

Brenda, I'm a very visual and tactile person. I understand how you have to touch the pieces when you walk by. I love to touch fabrics, wood, sculptures (can get you in trouble in a museum. LOL) The elm, the old pine woods....gone. These pieces are unique but I'm afraid it will be a while longer before they are recognized as antiques or the styles come back around.

Oh I use to sew a lot. Actually I was a good seamstress and I have boxes of wonderful wools and linen fabrics that I bought when I was traveling to NYC regularly. I doubt I'll ever use them. No, I know I will never use them but I hate to let them go.

We have furnished our house in Mexico and I've had so much fun doing it. We did it as inexpensively as possible but it is cute and comfortable. And you know beans cooked in a $100 set of pots and pans taste just as good as those cooked in a $600 set. So we can live much simplier and much cheaper. I don't need all this stuff to have a wonderful life.

Brenda said...

I also do a lot of sewing, or did until the last year or so. I am taking my sewing machine and serger with me to Mexico. Fabrics accumulated will stay here. It will give me something else to keep occupied with down there. Curtains, etc.. Will have more free time there as will be little housework and no real yardwork. Freedom is a lovely thing!

Brenda said...

I forgot, I am taking my good pots, cooking for 6 months with our camping pots decided that. UGH! It was nice to get home and be able to cook in a decent pot again.
We found a nice little shop in Guaymas that sells solid wood furniture rather than the tubular steel and glass stuff that is so common there. I have never liked that stuff. It feels too cold and lifeless for me. I also am very tactile and like the warmth and character of solid wood.