1) I know better than to read the news just before bed. But I did read the news before bed, so it's entirely my own fault that I slept so badly. Eventually I just got up and got going at 5:00 AM, leaping like a stone from my bed to suck down some coffee.
2) In the kitchen I just grabbed a stack of papers in one corner of Mother's desk and started sorting. These were copies of notes and letter she'd written to friends and organizations, and obituaries and other ephemera. Last night we'd found an alphabetical accordion file, so I used that to file them all by last names (if I knew them). Not the sort of stuff to toss out.
3) Laura joined me after a bit - her family are all early risers - and I moved on to the cabinets over her desk. The left one daunted me too much. The right one contained two of three shelves with stacks of recipe clippings that had yellowed to mahogany. For me, it was like the computer: select all, delete.
4) Mother ambled into the kitchen just when I was beginning to wonder if we should check on her, and then all of a sudden Laura was up in the attic (!) and I was taking boxes from her and stashing them in the guest bathroom temporarily. Mind you, it's not even 8:00 AM, and I haven't had breakfast.
4a) Bits of fresh insulation accompanied all these offerings from Attica, so I had to wrestle with the vacuum cleaner immediately before Mother called attention.
5) And again, before I knew it, Laura and I were out of the house en route to the post office and other errands. Felt good to drop off these 64 envelopes with "Please remove from all mailng list" messages.
6) By 10 AM we were at the mall, a ghost town compared to other visits. We reminisced about the Piccadilly Cafeteria (now replaced by a Large Cosmetics Outlet), which was the new one that opened in the early 1970s. I'll never forget all that foil-inset wallpaper! But Lago di Carlo in general, and the mall in particular, "arrrrn't what they was."
7) A quick stop home yielded a lot of Uncle Bill's childhood toys and other games from Gramma's house (see above). What delight!
8) Then off to ye Hykus Pykus for some magical elixirs, ye Ryly Pyly to collect some sammiches, and home, where I started a midday NAP at actual midday! Because gurrrrrrlllll . . . I was hitting the wall.
8) Not that that nap got me very far. But then it was time to open a couple time capsules - my own. Sheet music of my gramma's that I thought had been lost, homecoming and prom photos from my one year in Catholic school, scripts, cards from high school graduation, and . . . . PINK LEOPARD SKIN WRAPPING PAPER!
9) We then entered a somewhat fraught period involving decisions about whether or not to bring the recycling to the nearby recycling center, taking recyclable material OUT of the trash and into the car to bring there, debating what was and was not recyclable, Mother's car not being able to go anywhere because the battery had died, moving all the recycling into Laura's van, getting additional recyclable material from the house into the van to humor Mother (this after we were all in the van with the doors closed and the engine started), getting two stacks of National Geographic into the recycling to humor me, and then driving off in a sudden rainstorm.
9a) As it happened, we started a trend; we drove into a very empty lot, but then had two cars waiting behind us when we left.
10) At home, another somewhat fraught period going through the garage, and the attic above it. The latter was quite a surprise - much fuller than anticipated, including a couple swank hats in a moldy old Maison Blanche hatbox and a roasting pan with a facsimile of the Declaration of Independence in it. We will really have to tackle this next trip.
11) More time capsules, this time from the garage, and this time mostly things from Uncle Bill: letters my gramma received after Grampa Al died in 1955, information about the silver (which I have now) and the Oriental rugs, Elks and Shrine memorabilia, a camera-shaped pewter belt buckle, and a charming photo of my gramma before she married.
12) Cocktail hour now. Apparently the AAA guy just got here to jump the battery.