Wednesday, May 21, 2008



Pretty much every weekend since my mother passed away last month The Squeeze and I have gone to visit my father in Hooterville while we're there to see the girls. He's been coping alright all things considered, but has had some stomach issues he's been seeing his doctor about. He's lost nearly 20 pounds since the start of they year due to all the stress of my mother being ill and passing on.

He's been sorting through some things at home. He's gone through dressers and packed up many of my mother's things. He couldn't believe how much Avon stuff she's bought over the years that never even got opened. A family friend sells the stuff, and she just hated to say no to her. She always liked to help others out. I'm not sure what he intends to do with it.

A couple of weeks ago, my father mentioned that he had been cleaning up and tossing out little things that my mother had hung on to for years for some reason. Little crocheted baskets from someone's wedding...stuff like that. Most of these items were stuffed into beer steins from Germany that sat on a shelf in the dining room. He had washed everything and wiped down all the shelves, and he just wants to get rid of all the knick-knacks. He asked me if I wanted a pair of ceramic cats that were drying in the dish rack in the kitchen. I looked at them and realized that I made them nearly 30 years ago when I dabbled in ceramics. They weren't a gift for anyone. I just made them and left them there on their mantel years ago when I moved out. He wrapped them up and made sure they went with me.

He told me that the next week he was going to wash everything in the china cabinets and clean the glass shelves and doors.
"I don't know why anyone needs all this stuff," he said. "It's just something else to have to clean."
"Well, it's all part of her set, and it was something that she loved. I remember buying some of the crystal bowls and vases for her for birthdays, Mother's Day...Christmas. Just last Christmas I managed to find that covered butter dish for her china set on e-Bay to replace the one that broke" I told him.
"If you want to, you can take them home with you," my father said.
"I'm not going to empty your house out."
"Well, I'm never going to use any of this stuff."
"We'll figure it out later. Not now," I said.

On our drive home that night I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with emotion.
"You know," I said to The Squeeze, "I would love to have my mother's china and crystal set. They were such a part of her, and I'd love to have them as a memento and be able to pass them on to Brynn one day."
"Why don't you tell your father you want them?" he asked.
"I'd sort of feel like some kind of greedy, grave-robbing ghoul taking stuff from his house."
"Well, he said he doesn't want it."
"Ya, but I've got 3 brothers and a sister who might," I answered. "And I don't want to cause any wars with everyone else. If they expressed a desire to have it, I'd probably just back down to keep the peace."
"But if it's something you want..."
"If anyone wants this stuff for any other reason than sentimentality...if they want it strictly for the value of it, I'd offer to just pay them what they want so I can hang on to it," I told him.
The Squeeze just sat there and let me process my thoughts.
"I always said that when my parents were gone, all I wanted was their wedding picture. I just want a memory to hang on to. This crystal and china set mean family to me. We often used it at family gatherings. It brings back memories of good times."

I had a bit of a meltdown as I drove, just thinking of their wedding picture.
"What does that picture mean to you?" The Squeeze asked.
"It means hope. It was the day they started out on their journey. They got married, had three kids in East Germany, escaped there with the kids with little more than the clothes on their backs. They found their way here, started building a life for themselves, had three more kids, worked hard for what they had, and provided us with what we needed. They faced the pain of losing a son, seeing another son deal with the aftermath of a horrible industrial accident, and found the strength to carry on. They were there during their children's marital difficulties, they were there to offer their support when I came out. That picture represents their innocence. That picture represents their dreams."

Last weekend, The Squeeze and I were back for a visit. Again my father talked about cleaning out the china cabinet. I built up my nerve.
"When you want to let go of some of this stuff, I would love to have the china and crystal set. There are a lot of memories in it for me, and I'd love to be able to use it on special occasions and tell people the history of it. Then I can pass it on to Brynn one day," I explained.
"I guess that's all people do with this stuff, just pass it down to someone else," he answered. (Where did I get my sentimentality?)
"You can take it with you any time," he said.
"I don't want to cause a fight with anyone if someone else would like to have it too," I told him.
"I doubt anyone else would want it," he answered.

I'm not so sure. I'm trying to figure out how to handle this. Should I talk to my siblings about this first? I really don't want to step on anyone's toes, and I don't want to look like I'm loading up the goods before anyone else can. I remember when my grandmother died many years ago, and some of her kids dove in and emptied the place of valuables and antiques. I'll never forget one of my aunts offering my mother some of my grandmother's underwear. Unreal. I don't want this to happen. Any ideas?

Where are you siblings these days? Are they nearby? If so, then why aren't they visiting your dad? If they were, they'd be getting the same talk you are. You're the one there and expressing interest. It might be nice to mention it to them, but there is probably plenty of stuff to go around.

My Grandma has told everybody to start laying claim now to things we want. She has lots of different sets of dishes (at least three) and my favorite has already been claimed by my aunt, but I don't have a problem with it because she doesn't ever get nice things, and I think she deserves nice things. I've basically put my name in for things I gave to Grandma.

youR siblings...I need to remember to proofread!
Oh, the sibs are all nearby and visiting as well. There is certainly enough stuff to go around, but the thought of us all "claiming" stuff leaves me a bit cold.

I'm thinking an e-mail to all of them explaining why I want the china and crystal, and see if that poses a problem with anyone. Maybe I'm worrying over nothing. *fingers crossed*
Hm. read this earlier and forgot to comment I guess.

If you're the first to mention the china to your dad then you probably care for it more than the others and should have it.

If it bothers you, send a note to your siblings stating your wishes.

Honesty is the best policy.
I agree with FWG, send an e-mail to the sibs and mention that Dad's offered the china to you and you really want it for such and such reasons and does anybody object?

I don't like claiming things either, but Grandma keeps insisting. I gave her a flower bowl - more decorative than anything - years ago, so I said I'd like that back. I'm sure when she dies in 20 or so years (I hope), that I'll want more things, but it's a little ghoulish to lay claim when she's still there living in her condo.
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