A Tired Older Woman Talks About Stuff

Chocolate Can Kill (Emily Harris Mysteries) by Annie Acorn

Also available at Smashwords and for NOOK!

Those of you who follow this blog regularly will remember that I broke my right foot in two places last fall.  For months, I was confined to my home and, in large part, to my bed and my lounge chair. (ATOW: Does Crutches, ATOW: Moon Walks, and ATOW: Does PT)

Trips to my doctor’s office and physical therapy, as well as occasional visits from friends who were nice enough to stop by, comprised my contact with the outside world beyond my computer with one notable exception.  Over Thanksgiving, Southwest Airlines was nice enough to basically wheelchair me from the D.C. area to Seattle, where I engaged in a wonderful visit with Son #2 and the best daughter-in-law in the world. (Thanksgiving Angels)

I spent hour upon hour alone in my home watching the dust settle here, there, and everywhere on all of my stuff.  One day it finally hit me, where had it all come from?  The stuff, not the dust, and I spent a lovely afternoon after that examining my living room with fresh eyes.

My paternal grandma was over in one corner, represented by her desk.  My maternal grandmother was arranged in colorful volumes along two of the cherry bookcase’s shelves.  Great-aunt Martha’s tea table held my pitcher of espresso, my notepad, and a favorite pen among other things.  A curio table in another corner was the first piece of furniture that my young husband and I had purchased together.  Gifts from friends and souvenirs from travel were peppered about.

Some things were intrinsically valuable.  Others were valuable only to me, memories of people or times that were special.  One item, a wooden car painted all over very badly in deep red by Son #1 as a boy, would’ve been tossed into most people’s trash.  There were large things and small things and things that were so tiny you almost needed a magnifying glass to see them, and over all a layer of dust continued to grow as I sat there unable to attend to it.

As the week wore on, I began mentally to catalogue each room as I spent time in it, and one thing immediately stood out.  Except for my books and my day-to-day dishes, I had purchased very few of the items that now surround me.  Most things were either a gift from a friend of longstanding or inherited pieces.  The artwork on the walls was produced for the most part by talented family members.

Meanwhile the layer of dust continued to accumulate, giving everything I owned a kind of felt overlay look.  Even the lamp shades began to look a bit fuzzy, their thickened exterior adding a pleasant ambiance to my rooms in the evenings.

Sadly, I admitted two things to myself, as a young wife and mother I had accumulated with the best of them and, as I had downsized, those items had been the first to be passed on, donated, or tossed out.  For a moment, I wondered how much richer I would be if I had foregone the purchases in the first place – a sobering thought.  Then I remembered all of the people who had been grateful for the pieces that furnished their first home or clothed their own child, and I felt that I had, in a way at least, paid my stuff forward.

I am glad to report in response to the many inquiries I’ve received that my foot is now much better.  I am finally up and about, and I’ve been making good use of my changed circumstances to reconnect with both friends and family.  I’ve even booked a flight to Birmingham for early June, so that I can meet once again with the Birmingham Area Writers’ Group.

In the meantime, I have a tough job ahead of me.  The time has come to take care of business.  Winter is over, and my things no longer need a fur coat.

First I will roll back the dust from my belongings, and then I will grab a fine cloth and some Pledge, with which I will gently wipe down my grandmothers and Great-aunt Martha, friends and other relatives who are all represented so completely by the stuff that I love.

Annie Acorn

A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off! by Annie Acorn

Also in print and for NOOK!

When to Remain Silent (Annie Acorn’s Kindle Short Mysteries) by Annie Acorn

Also available for NOOK!

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6 Responses to A Tired Older Woman Talks About Stuff

  1. How nice that you are able to recount such fond memories, and record them here. I think it’s a wonderful outlook that you have on life, and touching those who read your column. I might be able to have a post for you when you want to submit to my DC Tumblr? Just let me know when you’d like to cut/paste one?

    Lonny Dunn, Annandale, VA
    I Tweet at @ProNetworkBuild

  2. Mitzi says:

    My fiance and I are going through his treasures now–to make room for mine. Our separate children don’t have room for much of what we would like to give them or they live across the country. I think we’ll be donating some but saving a lot –for when we can pass them along. And for the memories.

    Lovely post.
    Mitzi

    • Annie says:

      Mitzi – I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I wish you and your fiance the best as you begin to form your new home! Keep in touch. Annie

  3. Grier says:

    Annie:

    As a young mother I am continually rotating the cast of stuff in our house, particularly in my 8-year-old’s room. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether to give something away or pack it up carefully for future generations to enjoy. Regardless, our home environments, just like our lives, are never static but change over time. Perhaps the microcosm reflects the macrocosm… However, it’s certainly easier to dust when there’s less stuff around and it brings the home back to life.
    Grier recently posted..Dance Set Free From the Stage and the StudioMy Profile

    • Annie says:

      Grier – I appreciate your having left such a thoughtful comment, particularly since it was interesting to me to learn that the piece had resonated so well with a young mother. I hope you will stop by again soon! Annie

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