Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stuff, More Stuff and Too Much Stuff

 Yesterday, my daughter dropped by for one of her last visits before she moves to Boston in a couple weeks. She and her boyfriend will be combining apartments and moving in together. “We have doubles on a lot of things. What do you need?” she asked.
This is a question that those who are transitioning smaller –or endlessly contemplating doing so – do not  want to hear.  It’s supposed to be the other way around. When I tried to decline,  she made it clear that I should be more grateful. After all, they had some good stuff.

Better than my stuff.

Not wanting to offend, I tried to graciously accept a blender (to replace the one given to me as a wedding present more than 40 years ago and a bit cracked) and new measuring spoons to replace the bent up, blackened  ones which were once my mother’s give-aways. I even said yes to a Foreman grill.
Wait until you get to be my age, I told her, trying to explain one of the Great Generational Divides.
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Dan Rubin said it much better than I could as he discussed his 86-year-old father’s decision to box up Dan’s books and those of his older brother.  This quote doesn’t do justice to the whole piece -- worth reading -- but it gives you the flavor:
“I told Dad I preferred that the books stay right where they are, so I can freeze time, so whenever I drop by my old house, I can sit in that room, on the velour sofa that replaced the twin beds, and as night falls and the radiator belches that foul steam heat, I can get lost again in the words that took so long for me to hear.”
Or, as his brother told his parents, “They’ve been there 40 years. Another few years won’t hurt anyone.”

I dropped by the Inquirer's offices today --and speaking of "stuff," they're throwing our decades-worth as they prepare to move in a week.  Dan Rubin gave me some news to break here.
An email just landed from his father:

"All of the books have been put back on the book shelves, in order of their size. The next rainy day I will catalog them and rearrange them alphabetically, however they, as well as the shelves, are now clean. No longer dusty."

Dan Rubin can go home again.

1 comment:

Becca said...

Good work, Naomi!