Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Mom’s House

When my Mom passed away, she was a spry 82 and went peacefully in her sleep on a crisp winter morning in March.  I remember saying goodnight and I love you to her when we ended our last phone call the night before.  I am blessed to have had that last call.  She didn’t even have a sniffle, so her passing was tough on the whole family.  I am the youngest of her seven children and she had 9 grandchildren who she doted on endlessly.  Her life was full and she never wasted a minute of it.

We kept putting off the inevitable, but I knew the day was coming when my three sisters and I were going to have to go through her home, our childhood home, and pack up all her belongings.  My three brothers, the big manly men who tortured their little brother during childhood, couldn’t handle it.  They had their excuses to not be part of this particular sad process and we all grieve in our own way, so we accepted it. Upon arriving at the little cape home on Maple Drive that morning, my sisters and I hugged it out in the driveway we used to play in.  A few neighbors stopped over to give their condolences again and after a few reminiscent Mom stories, some laughs and maybe a couple awkward silent moments because we were in no hurry to begin this process, the neighbors left with the cordial, “If there’s anything we can do .. “ so we went in to begin our journey down memory lane. We decided to all stay together and go through each room starting from the upstairs bedrooms, down to the basement and then finish off in the middle.  That’s where Mom’s room is.

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The upstairs didn’t have an attic, but there were eves.  The boxes were old and falling apart as we dragged them out.  Some were filled with the oldest of Christmas decorations.  Others were filled with items we had no idea were still there.  Art class projects from when each of us were in grade school such as Thanksgiving paintings where your fingers were the tail feathers, the obligatory hand prints in the circle of clay, class photos in sixties and seventies clothes.

There was an anomaly you would never see today.  There were four separate class photos of me and my brothers, each photo taken years apart.  We each were about 10 or 11 years old and we each had on the same red, black and white sport coat in that particular years class photo.  The good old hand-me-down.  We all laughed until we cried about that one!

Since the boxes were so old, over filled and falling apart, I knew we had to get new ones.  I remembered seeing a white sign with red lettering that stated, We Sell Boxes, at 2354 Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne, NJ, 07470.  That’s the address for Storage Station.  It was a Saturday and I wasn’t sure they were open so I looked online at www.storagstations.com to find their phone number.  I called 862-377-6593 and the manager assured me they were open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday and 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturdays.  I left my Mom’s and went over to buy my boxes.  When I got there, I began telling the manager at Storage Station of Wayne, the story of what my sisters and I were doing that day.  He gave me his card and let me know he was available if I needed anything else.  I put the card in my wallet and went back to Maple Drive.

The weekend was filled with memories, laughter and tears.  But now it was Monday.  The moment we dreaded had arrived and the last room to be approached was my Moms bedroom.  The tears flowed steadily even before we entered the house.  The first thing I came upon in the closet was a knitting basket.  In it were the beginnings of a crochet blanket my Mom loved to make.  It was pink and white, so it was for one of the girls.  Maybe one of her granddaughters, but the mere sight of it elicited even more tears.  That was the story of the day.  Everything in that room was her and I almost envied my three brothers for not being there.  There was an outfit she just purchased with the price tags still attached.  Never to be worn for her planned trip to Atlantic City with her friends that St. Patrick’s Day.

There were things to be done with the items we carefully placed in the boxes.  There were decisions to be made on who wants to keep what and what items will be donated to local charities.  I had what I wanted.  I had the calendar from the kitchen wall with my birthday reminder penned in its date with Moms handwriting; it was the last thing she wrote on it.  I had the last Christmas gift I gave her, a small Tiffany style lamp she used as a nightlight in her bedroom.  The last card I gave her for St. Valentine’s Day the month before she passed, is forever, the last gift I ever gave her.

A fitting token for the appreciation and love I felt for my Mother.

Now what were we going to do with all these boxes?

I reached in to my wallet and took out the card the manager from Storage Station of Wayne gave to me.  I called and asked if I needed an appointment to visit and he assured me I did not.  My sisters and I went together to see what was available.  We thought it was going to be a full day process.  We were incorrect in that assumption.

The manager gave us great direction on what we needed to do.  We had rented a storage unit to suit our needs and rented a truck to transport all the items from Moms house to the facility.  At Storage Station of Wayne, we had 24 hour access to our unit so we were under no time restraint to be done by the time their main office closed.  We had our own personal pin number to access the facility.  We called on the neighbors who said if there was anything they could do and took them up on it.  With their help, we were done in no time.

We still have to go through the boxes we put into self storage, my brothers included, and that part will be tough.  Having stored at Storage Station of Wayne, it’s nice to know we have all the time we need.

Thank you Storage Station.

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