Friday, April 24, 2009

Just keep feeding me material, Kathy

Here's one of Kathy's that I missed:

"This Old House"

Several things about that post are interesting; Kathy has shown me the house and all those shrubs (and the two little boys) are all grown up.

It is sad, sometimes, when you leave your home. I had very mixed emotions about leaving Malvern, AR for Houston. Of course I was excited about my new job, and excited about the change of pace, shaking up the routine, getting out of the rut, etc. I wasn't terribly sorry to be leaving Malvern, either. It was not the community I spent all those happy summers in in the 1960's; things change, you know.

Still, that house was special to me; it meant something. So I was a bit wistful.

But the point of this post is this:

Moving at Christmas---just don't do it.

My Mother and Dad bought a new house in Dallas in 1960. Why it went down at the exact time it did I have no idea (and can't ask them now). The reasons we moved were obvious: it was a brand-new house; our old house (with a 3 year old and two dogs) was on an extremely busy, major thoroughfare; the new house was bigger.

It turned out we actually moved ON CHRISTMAS DAY, because Dad could be off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day without losing time from work or using vacation days. Dad had rented a U-Haul and we made at least 100 trips between our old house and new one.

I vaguely remember the argument they had, but they have told me the story many times, so here's the gist of it:

Him: "Look, I'm tired, we've gotten everything else, we're ready to go to the new house, and we've still got to clean this one. We'll just carefully put the Christmas tree in the trailer and put some blankets around it; it'll be fine."

Her: "Are you crazy? We have to undecorate that tree and pack all the ornaments!"

He won, partly because she WAS tired and DID have to clean the old house.

So we moved our FULLY DECORATED Christmas Tree on the tailgate of the station wagon. I have no idea how many ornaments were lost, but the tree made it to the new abode and was put up just in time to be taken down.


A quick footnote: The surviving Christmas ornaments were used and added to over the years. Mother LOVED Christmas (I'm ambivalent; I'd rather have a religious holiday and skip Santa), and she had a huge trove of Christmas decorations. I didn't want them, and my sister has her own. So there we were, cleaning out the storage room at the Malvern house after moving Mother and Dad to assisted living in San Antonio. There were all those Christmas decorations, along with our baby bed (!), high chair (!), stroller (!), 1950's Chromecraft dinette (complete with vinyl chairs!) and assorted other miscellaney and debris that had accumulated. My next door neighbor had a son, aged 14 when they moved there, who kind of adopted me as a part-time uncle. He mowed my lawn, weeded the flowerbeds, etc. Later, when he graduated high school, he found "The One" and married her. At the time we were cleaning out the storage room, she was -great- with child. They had come over to help with the "toting" and cleanup. I told them they could just have any of the stuff we had left in there, thinking that I was well off having paid them $200 to throw it away.

A few weeks later, I got a call at my desk in Houston from the young man's mother (my neighbor). She told me how grateful the kids were, and how much we had helped a young couple in need. Seems they both worked at Wal-Mart, had NO furniture, and NO Christmas decorations at all. They put up Mother's old artificial (bottle brush) Christmas tree and hung all our Christmas ornaments on it; they ate their Christmas dinner on some of our old stoneware off our 1950 Chromecraft dinette (with vinyl chairs!). The mother told me that, had it not been for us, they'd have had -nothing-, and the young lady LOVED all our stuff.

Sometimes there's a silver lining you don't expect.

1 comment:

  1. What a great story! You never know what good you can do, even when you think you are only helping yourself.