1) We were all in bed before 11:15. I got up a couple times in the night (as one does), but when I got up at 5:30, this time I said “Forget it - back to bed!” Walking into my room, I peered down the hall, but I couldn’t quite tell with my glasses off if I saw my brother-in-law or not.
2) By 7:18 I was able to start the day. Tony had made the coffee - and gone! Back to Mandeville for him, where he had his own extensive set of action items waiiting.
3) The pace had slowed, but Laura surfaced just before I finished devotional and my second cup of coffee. After breakfast, a trip to ye Wyllemyrtte for bubble wrap. LOTS of bubble wrap.
4) At home, I had an uncomfortable task to attend to. One of the voicemail messages Laura played the night before was from Ella Mae, who was our once-a-week maid when we were little and someone Mother valued a lot for her spiritual guidance. She did not know that Mother had died, and it became my duty to call and tell her. Turns out she’s deafer than I thought, and just when I thought I’d managed to tell all the sad news, I had to reconfirm who I was and the news in a slightly louder tone of voice. This led to some wonderful conversation about both my parents, and even more important, about Ella Mae’s 100th birthday (!) last January!
4a) Ella Mae also told me that, throughout his last years, she had been praying for my father. And she had a vision of him around the time he died, coming to her to thank her for all the prayers. It was very powerful to hear that.
5) Then we started on the closet with all the Christmas ornaments and craft supplies and seasonal decorations and table linens and whatnot. Thank goodness Laura isn’t interested in the candelabra! (I think they were Granny’s.) There were many things to put out on the dining room table, which we were arranging for Mother’s friends to select a memento.
6) Suddenly it was time to leave for ye Cyttyn’s for cheeseburgers with “the Dots,” Mother’s group of friends from church (in this instance led by Dot) who gather there every Saturday. When Laura and I pulled up at 11:15 - surprise! ye Cyttyn’s was closed for the installation of new cooking equipment! Dot and Flo drove up ten minutes later, and they told us they had an automatic Plan B: ye Prynya’s on Kirkman. So we followed them there.
7) We were table of nine: Sylvia and her daughter Sally, Dot, Flo, Abbie, Louise, and Virginia, and of course Laura and me. So hungry I had half a muffaletta, and it was so good. And we all talked about driving, health issues (but it wasn’t an “organ recital”), and Mother and her last days. And clearing out the house. I was really glad we got to do this; some of these ladies went to high school with Mother and Daddy, and they’ve all worshiped together at First Methodist for decades.
8) We invited the ladies back to choose a memento if they wished, and Louise and Virginia took us up on the offer. They were agog at all the work Laura had done, and we got to have more good talk. Louise chose a small glass screen I had given my Granny Dimmick as a gift some 45 years ago that said “Along the road of life, take time to smell the roses.” Virginia chose one of the many baskets.
9) By now it was only just after 12:30, and I decided that, come what may, I needed a NAP. And I had one, too, until 1:37. In the kitchen my phone went off; it was Mother’s friend Andrea. “Are you in the house?” “Why yes!” “Then will you answer the back door?” :-)
10) There are lifelong friends, and there are friends we only meet after we’re more than 3/4 through our journey. Andrea falls into the latter category for Mother, and we all love her. Like Mother, Andrea is a creator, but she creates differently; she told us she’s taking a welding class! And she does a lot of the craft fair things that Mother used to do. She also has a particular interest in jewelry, especially broken jewelry, so we had a good time with her going through the remnants of Mother’s and Gramma’s junk.
11) Since then, directionless and a bit lost while Laura is taking a NAP, I felt I’d be better served if I concentrated all the moveables I have to pack into one space in which I wasn’t also sleeping. It feels more manageable this way, even if it isn’t.
12) Next I emptied out the drawers of the tallboy and the dresser in my room. One unfinished lace tablecloth that my gramma clearly was making smells so much like her house! A small pile of white and red felt pieces accompanied the handmade pattern for the beautiful sequined white felt Christmas card rack shaped like a Christmas tree. And a large crocheted coverlet of cream wool with elaborate fuschia roses and green leaves. Mother had told me last year (when we took it out of the cedar chest) that it was important because her grandmother made it, “but who’s going to care about it?” And indeed that is the question. We are facing bales of beautiful needlework of different kinds, more than half of it spoiled by age spots or something. Why have all these things if you aren’t going to use them?
12a) I intend to use the things I’m bringing with me!
13) But the best find of all is the cardboard tube containing the portrait on linen of Gramma Houska’s family (see above). Gramma Houska, Anna, is my mother’s mother’s mother; her maiden name was Wondra, so this is the Wondra family. Around it I found the key to who’s who that I typed up with Gramma only three weeks before she died in July, 1983. This portrait is going to be the key to identifying several of the people in some of the albums we’ve found.
14) It is almost 5, and we are running off for an early dinner before a late night of packing.