Monday, September 5, 2011

Grandma's Valuables

It was a very unique and interesting experience to watch my grandma sort through her belongings in her move from the best house ever to a townhouse.  All my life, I had moved around her house, intensely curious about most of its possessions, but too timid to just pick them up and ask about them.  Instead, I came up with my own assumptions.

While visiting her, Grandma kept asking, "What do you want?"  I hesitated because the things that meant the most to me were those that meant the most to her - her treasures that I knew she would not part with.  I enjoyed that week though of watching her go through her possessions and tell the story behind each item.

We got to the toothpick holders and Grandma had me choose one out of the number she was ready to give away.  I chose conservatively.  Then she asked me to help pick out a few for siblings.  "Well, Isa's favorite color is orange,"  I admitted slowly.  Grandma smiled at me and then looked carefully at the only orange toothpick holder she owned.  Surprisingly, she picked it up, kissed it and then handed it to me, saying, "I wasn't ready to give this up just yet but oh well.  This is one of my favorites.  Give it to your sister."

I spent most of my time looking through photo albums.  I'd already looked through them hundreds of times.  But this time, I was choosing pictures that I wanted and Grandma was quite liberal with giving us pictures of us when we were younger.  On the more recent albums, Grandma had put in her comments and thoughts next to the pictures.  Next to those pictures of me that I'd rather not remember, my grandma had written, "Beautiful smiles from my beautiful granddaughters."

At one point, Grandma pulled out the plates us kids had made one year.  They were simply done with only a signature from us kids.  Quite laughable really that my Grandma had kept it all these years.  She held them up and we appropriately smiled, as though sharing in on her joke - humor the grandkids and their innocent messes.  (In fact, she had kept everything and anything we had made and given her over the years)
Why did I ever think my grandparents
needed a sand painting of Ancient Egypt?  
I can't stop laughing at my signatures
I took pictures and forgot about them when we went to pull out the old linens and hear all about where they came from.  But then we see my niece going for those plates to bang them against each other so she could hear that delightful noise of plastic on plastic.  Grandma panicked, "Get her away from those!   I don't want her to break them!"  We looked at her in surprise and pulled the plates away from a curious Alexis, "Grandma, they're plastic.  They aren't going to break."

It was about this point that I started to realize what my Grandma valued.  More than the linens from great-great grandparents.  More than the china from her parents and her own wedding.  More than the paintings from her sister.

We - her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren - were her greatest treasures.

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