A cluttered home, and a mind to go with it
They’re about five feet apart in what once was the guest-room-slash-office but lately has become the guest-room-slash-office-slash-excess-storage-room-slash-island-of-misfit-toys.
The wicker rocking chair came from Massachusetts by way of Florida. The faux-bronze tin knight arrived from Virginia — with an unplanned lengthy layover in Seattle. Each is currently awaiting its fate.
As anyone with half a brain will tell you, moving is no picnic. We know this for two certifiable reasons. First, picnics rarely include the packing of hand-me-down cardboard boxes.
And also, I’m the one relating this truism — and if anyone with half a brain could be classified as certifiable well, just ask the other occupant of our soon-to-be-former abode.
No, not the cat.
People who have moved in the relatively recent past are more than happy to share their tips for a successful venture with you — but these are only slightly more useful than reading a self-help book about how someone else got through a particular trauma.
“If I can do it, so can you” might be worth a few moments of wan encouragement; but, honestly, being knee-deep in this process and facing the discombobulated spectrum of trying to locate — never mind reach — the finish line, I can swear on the cherished memory of my legendary grandmother that how you got from Point A to Point Z is not going to be of much help.
Unless, that is, you plan to finish this move for us.
There is, primarily, the matter of what items make the move, which are repurposed to worthy causes and which, with any luck, will make their way into someone else’s office-slash-island-of-misfit-toys after the eventual yard sale.
The biggest problem, as it is for most people, was the matter of books. We have successfully sold, bartered or donated (the Friends of the Medford Library Book Shop might need to expand after we dropped off several boxes) half of the books we’d once held dear.
That leaves us with a rough estimate of two-thirds of our books to organize, pack, and, yes, dust before they make the journey to their new place of honor.
(We are trying, it needs to be said, to bring with us as little dust as possible. Note to those who might move in the future: Your dust will want to come with you. Resist the urge to take it.)
Next up were those boxes of mementos we had carefully stored away and/or shoved into the bottom of a closet; the boxes that were rarely, if ever, opened over the 19-plus years we’ve been in the Rogue Valley.
“Do not open those boxes,” moving experts advised. “Take them straight out to the trash.”
Among the items discovered was a rubber key fob depicting the mascot of the Cape Cod Buccaneers — a now defunct minor league team that was part of the now defunct Atlantic Coast Hockey League, which played its games in the now-defunct Cape Cod Coliseum and were owned by World Wrestling Entertainment titan Vince McMahon for whom I spent a memorable few months in 1982 as a public relations intern and who, at the farewell party for his defunct hockey team, one-arm lifted my co-habitant (no, not the cat) up to mhis shoulder..
(I believe I kept that fob lo these many years simply so that one day, I could write that sentence.)
Of the more mundane items discovered in one of the boxes was the “deed” to the home in which I was raised. A single sheet of paper, two typewritten paragraphs, transferring ownership of a newly built, four-bedroom, two-bath home with a full basement on a .75-acre lot in one of the priciest areas of the country to live (note the fob) for the grand total of $12,500.
No, there isn’t a zero missing in the figure.
Also unearthed was a copy (the print is too clear and too modern) of the certificate of my grandmother’s birth in 1894 in the shipping village of Heart’s Content on the Bay de Verde Peninsula, Newfoundland.
Which brings me to the wicker rocking chair. No one quite knows how old it is, or when it first came into my grandmother’s possession. What we do remember is her taking it into the backyard of our home in the late afternoon to sit and read the Bible under the light of the setting sun.
I’d often be the one charged with retrieving the chair after dinner and, when she became too infirm to make her daily trek, the chair came into my possession and was a fixture for four years in my college dorm rooms.
It then came into the possession of various cats with which we’ve lived the past 40 or so years. The wicker has weakened and started to fail. It’s been chipped and battered through various moves and now sits among those items that have caused us to wonder whether this was its final stop.
Even with my certifiable, half-a-brain existence, I think we all know the answer to that.
Besides, it has been watched over by the faux-bronze tin knight for a few decades. We picked it up at an outlet store a few miles north of Colonial Williamsburg and it once was left behind in Seattle back in 1993 during a short-lived attempt to move across country.
The faux-bronze is flaking off and the knight keeps dropping the shield from his left hand. (To be completely honest, he keeps dropping his left hand as well.)
Come to think of it, the couple in whose home the knight lived for six years are stopping in later today on their way back home from California.
Maybe they’ll want an old friend to join them on the ride home.
Mail Tribune senior designer Robert Galvin — who is on vacation and will return when he finishing unpacking — can be reached at email@example.com.