A different kind of post: Childhood memories and stuff

This is going to be a different kind of post from my usual.

I’m home in Little Rock on Christmas Eve night.  It’s a more eventful Christmas than usual around here.  My mother is moving into an assisted living facility this month.  She’ll still have her own apartment and a normal life, but help will be a button away if she needs it, which is important because she’s had two minor strokes and some other health issues the past three years.  The movers came and moved the stuff she’s keeping into her new apartment yesterday.  The stuff she’s not taking, including the extra bed, is still in her old house.  So tonight we’re staying in separate places – she’s in the new place and I’m in the old.

The old house is about 1200 SF plus a good-sized attic.  The new place is less than 600 SF.  That means she’s having to leave a lot of stuff behind – sell the items that are worth money, and throw the rest out.  The movers have brought down everything from the attic, and I’ve been walking around tonight looking at memories from my childhood.  The box full of toys that made me so happy when I was 3.  The green watering can that my grandmother used to water the violets on the windowsill.  A bag full of stuffed bunnies that I received in Easter baskets over the years.  There’s a stuffed chick in there too.  I can’t remember the chick’s name but I distinctly remember that I loved it very much when I was only a couple of years old.  There’s the original Atari VCS that I spent many hours of 1982 playing.  I wonder if it still works.

Then there’s the silver place settings that my grandmother wanted me to have.  She died in 1999 and I guess she figured at some point after that, I’d turn into a normal person and get married and have a family.  I wonder if she ever looks in on me late night as I gobble down some to-go nachos from Huey’s with a plastic fork, and if so, what she thinks about the direction my life has taken.  Funny thing is, that silver is worth several thousands of dollars probably, but I’d rather have her old watering can which would probably sell for 50 cents at Goodwill.

I’m kind of glad all this stuff is being dispensed with though.  If my mother had stayed in the old house until she died and I had to deal with the removal of all of it, it would have sent me right over the edge.  I’ll grab a few souvenirs to take back with me to Memphis before I leave Friday afternoon.

The new apartment looks like it’s going to work out great.  My mother is already meeting “the girls” in the lunch room and making lots of new friends.  I have a feeling she’ll be a lot less lonely than she was in the house all by herself.  I think it will be the start of a whole new life for her.

One of the things she’s leaving behind is her computer.  The apartment building has a computer lab with Internet connections.  She’s going to use the lab until I get my employment situation straightened out, at which time I’ll buy her a laptop and she’ll get Internet in her apartment.  I went ahead and gave her a Christmas gift a day early, a 16 GB flash drive with PortableApps.com installed on it to use in the lab.  I gave her a computer when she retired in 1995 and taught her how to use e-mail and create her own web page.  Most of her neighbors don’t even know how to turn a computer on.  I predict she’s about to come upon a newfound popularity as “the one who knows about computers.”

So I spent the day at her new place, then drove back to the old place about 7.  On the porch I found 5 giftwrapped lawyer boxes full of food from my mother’s church.  “You are deeply loved,” said the note on the box.  They know she’s not been in the best health lately, and that she spent a lot of money on the move, and wanted to help.  I was really touched by that gesture.  Kind of made the “experiencing God’s love through the act of giving to others” thing strike home to me.

All right.  Enough rambling.  Merry Christmas to all my blog readers and friends.