A few weeks ago a friend from church called me. This gal and I had formed somewhat of a bond with each other because of quilting and stitching. She informed me that she would be moving to assisted living soon and wondered if I would like her stash. Of course I wanted it and we made arrangements to go to her home. It was the first time I had been to her home and it was quite lovely, filled with a lot of "treasures" from over the years. Nancy was a very good golfer and bowler as well as an avid sewer. We did the usual chatting and catching up and then went upstairs to her sewing area. There walls held her thread racks, three sewing machines sat nearby, the cutting table neatly folded up, her rulers and scissors in a box. As a quilter, I recognized all the necessities needed for making dreams into reality. When I left that area, I had three boxes of books and had completely forgotten about where the fabrics might be found. As I was preparing to leave, she said......"Now let's go to the garage and look at the fabric". OH MY!! Boxes were stacked floor to ceiling and the width of one garage bay. All were filled with fabrics, batting, pillow forms or miscellaneous stuff needed in some way for sewing. She wanted me to take it all!
Three mini van loads later - two loads were packed front to back (no seats), top to bottom. The third almost the same. We unloaded into our garage. I took box after box into the house where I sorted into piles of things I wanted to keep, things I would not use but could donate, and things that should be disposed of. By the end of the two days of sorting, I found myself with a new box of books, 100 yards of additional fabric and a ton of miscellaneous items. Probably the treasure of the group was the Ultra Suede box, loaded with a multitude of colored scraps. All of it made it up to my sewing room and merged into my own over flowing stash.
A few days later, I received another call......"I found more stuff that I want you to see". Adjoining her sewing area was a walk-in closet that was filled with more goodies. She and I went thru it all and I once again, left with more treasures.
Let me fill you in on what Nancy thought was happening and what was really happening. She knew her four children were moving her to assisted living and she wasn't really happy about it all. Two of her children live near her, one in CT, one in WI. They had made the decision to move her to WI to be near her daughter. As we went thru things and walked thru her home, she would say that she wanted to take that particular item with her, she wanted the sofa from her living room, her queen size bed and some of her beautiful china cabinet knick knacks. She was planning to take part of her home with her. I encouraged her to keep her sewing machine(s), not realizing that in the end all of her tools and notions would be left behind.....no thread, no scissors, nothing. I thought it strange that her daughter had flown in to help pack things up, yet when we were there, she was playing tennis and the house had a lot of packing to be done. Little did I know about what was to come in the days ahead.
On Saturday - all of this had taken place in a little over a week - Jim went to pick up an item that had been forgotten. The small cargo trailer was only partially full. No bed. No sofa. No favorite chair. She was packed and had been moved....... While those things left behind were only "things", they were her life, her memories. Now she is four hours from her church friends, away from all those things that made up her life and in a place where she knows no one and without those comforts of her home.
This past weekend there was an estate sale. If I had known when it was to be, I would have been there early in the morning, rescuing things I knew Nancy would have wanted rescued. As it turned out, I found a few things that meant a little bit to her, but not things of great importance. Had I been there early I would have gotten her little Hitchcock chair, something I knew she loved and treasured. It may have gone into the trailer - I truly hope it did. I did send a message to her sons to keep her quilts, but there were several still there.
My sadness for her is deep. Her body was failing, her mind still sharp. The experience made me realize that control over one's life is in one's own hands. Planning ahead and being aware of one's own abilities/disabilities has to be first. At some point, I want to be able to make the decisions about where my own treasures land and hopefully be mentally able to make the decisions about where I spend my final years.
This experience has been sobering to say the least. I hope my journey thru life doesn't come down to being shuffled off into two tiny rooms and much of my journey left for strangers to sort thru to buy for nickels and dimes.
How to end this post........I'm not sure. Today I'll write to Nancy and let her know that I found two antique and very well worn quilts in her garage. I bought them for 50 cents each. They have been well loved, but I couldn't let them go along with all the leftover napkins, odd shoes and garden tools into a warehouse someplace where no one would have a clue.
We all have to face the music at some time. I want the music to be my song....... Life goes on.