Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I'm cleaning out my mother's house and it's hard. I was over there all day yesterday and most of the day today. There is, of course, no computer there - my mother, the Luddite, never even trusted calculators, let alone computers. This is true: she would always add up everything by hand after she did it on the calculator to make sure the machine wasn't broken. And the phone is attached to the wall, too. Sigh.

Yesterday the nice people from Brunk auctions came and took a lot of stuff; next week the nice people from Wilson & Terry will come and take even more stuff. Last night my friends J & J & I went through my mother's clothes. Now my mother's immaculately organized closet full of perfectly ironed silk shirts, plastic wrapped suits and shoes still in their original boxes is in disarray, with a series of big boxes labeled Goodwill and Consignment and Felicity lined up against the wall where the long table used to be. I'm grateful for my friends, without whom this task would have been unbelievably difficult. As it was, we were able to joke and talk and tease my absent mother for her weird fondness for yellow and those several things that came so clearly from the past that Victoria Principal could have worn them walking into a Dallas living room.
"This might be good for a job interview?" said J doubtfully, holding up one perfect silk blouse.
"A job interview where?" I said. "1987?"

The other J helped me bring down the shoes in their boxes, each pair stuffed carefully with tissue paper and wrapped gently in what I guess you would call a shoe cozy. I've never owned one, of course. Not that my mother probably didn't give them to me - they just somehow never got cozy with my shoes. "MY GOD!" said J, "Look at how neat this stuff is! Are you sure you weren't adopted?"

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