A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Friday, May 30, 2008

An elderly aunt and a cedar chest

Early tomorrow morning we're heading on a road trip to Tucson. My aunt (my mom's sister) just turned 86 and isn't in the best of health so I wanted to spend a little time with her. Her son, Ken, moved back to Tucson from California last year - primarily because he was done with California and wanted to head to a less frenetic place, and also because he wanted to take care of her. While trying to find a house to buy, he's been living with her in her 2-bedroom apartment. He finally foung a terrific place so she'll be moving in with him over the next couple of weeks.

My aunt went from a fairly large 3-bedroom house to her 2-bedroom apartment and somehow managed to keep almost all of her furniture and "stuff". Being an Italian Catholic, she has lots of statues of saints. And family photos. The first time I walked into her apartment it felt like all the air was sucked out of my lungs! The entry hallway is about 8 feet long and the walls are covered with photos. You can't see a speck of paint. She still has most of her huge furniture, and for some reason has stuffed animals and dolls everywhere. When we visited last summer, my son-in-law walked in and sat down on the piano bench (yes, she has a piano!) and didn't move. I think he was afraid! Ken says that the only good thing about all the clutter is that the house is like a giant walker for her because she can always grab something as she walks around.

She wanted to furnish his new home with her things. He said, um, no. Not much call these days for French Provincial furniture. She has lamps with crystals hanging from the shades. He wants his house to be all Southwest style. Not a good combo. So she called me to see if I wanted her living room furniture. I said, "Didn't you buy that stuff when Ken was around 6 years old?" She said, "Oh, no, I bought it before he was born!" To which I replied, "For god's sake, it's over 62 years old! Let it go!"

Another part of our trip is to collect my mother's cedar chest from my sister's house and bring it back here so my daughter can have it. She bought the chest before she got married and it's the one thing she loved the most. It will fit comfortably in the back of Ed's car (yes, we have an SUV, but at least it's a hybrid). My sister is very excited about getting rid of it and is filling it with all kinds of goodies for Jenni. Like my mother's old waffle maker which also makes pizzelles (Italian cookies), a fairly large plaster crucifix that Mom bought from a street vendor on the way out of Nogales, AZ 30 years ago, and a couple of saint statues. Not sure what Jenni will do with these items, but better her than me!

Should be a fun week. We'll start out spending Saturday night in Laughlin, then drive to Tucson via Lake Havasu to see the London Bridge. Coming home we'll go by way of Yosemite so we can visit with Ed's brother who lives and works there. The weather will be hot, the gas will be expensive, much of the drive will be boring as hell - but we're looking forward to it. Haven't taken a road trip in a very long time and, since there won't be any kids with us saying "I have to go to the bathroom" or "are we there yet" or "I'm bored" or "I'm getting sick", it should be a good trip.


namaste said...

sandi, i hope you have a safe and enjoyable trip. our last road trip took 7 hours and my hubby got a little cranky, so i had to help a little with the driving. coming back was more fun cause i'm a fun car deejay.

the old furniture? i chuckle. ppl from the old country love to hang on to their things. my grandmother was the same way. enjoy your visit with your aunt. i'm sure she'll be happy to have you guys spend time with her.




Sandi! I can't wait to hear all about your trip. Laughlin? As in gambling Laughlin? woo hoo! As for the 60+ year old furniture....all I can say is, "old school!" My grandparents and my parents as well have a really hard time letting go of their stuff. My parents have a clutter free home, but not a clutter free attic!!! I am 100% clutter free. I keep nothing. I don't even have a "junk" drawer.

ira said...


Nikki said...

I LOVE Tucson! There really is a lot to do there. The airplane graveyard is awesome and Mexican food galore. 1st ave. is awesome shopping and restaurants. Have fun and enjoy the heat...:)N

Fleur de Lisa said...

Yay! A road trip! I hope you have a safe and fun visit.

All of the old furniture and photos remind me of my grandparents.

Jenni said...

Jeff still is traumatized by his experience in Aunty M's house! Whenever II mention her, he gets this haunted look in his eyes. Poor guy's not the best with clutter.

I hope you guys have a great time.