It’s hard to believe but less than a year has passed since we sold David’s parents’ house in Illinois. In just 4 days’ time we attempted to get my in-laws’ three story house of 40 years picked through, sorted into what goes to their condo in Florida, what goes to their bedroom in Tennessee, what goes to which family member, what goes into the estate sale, and last but not least, what hits the curb to be either recycled or picked up by the garbage truck.
When I was mentally preparing myself for this endeavor I prepared a flowchart in my mind, dissecting the house into neat, organized divisions of rooms and contents. In my mind, I created a packing center where we could set up wrapping paper and boxes. Here all items that were to be transported to outlying destinations could be designated, packed and placed safely in boxes, marked appropriately and placed in the appropriate room until the movers arrived on the last day. In my mind, each room would be systematically gone through, decisions made, furniture tagged for destination, fragile items wrapped, recycling recycled and garbage tossed into a big black bag. Then and only then everyone would head off to the next room to begin the procedure again. Oh, silly me….
Mom hit the house with the force of an F-5 tornado. She had been plotting in her mind a plan of attack for this little adventure as well. She darted like a hummingbird to and fro, up and down the stairs picking through closets, cabinets and in tucked away 40-year-old long ago forgotten hidey holes for treasures of her life’s adventures. Each treasure she pulled out had a wonderful story attached of places she lived as a girl in Scotland or places that she had visited as an adult like China. Mom was up every morning at 6am and ran like the Eveready bunny all day long. She left in her wake, cabinet doors hanging open, their contents strewn out on the ground in a trail behind her.
Standing in the middle of a room piled high with boxes and littered with crinkled newspaper, was a something just shy of 5-foot- tall 80-year-old whirling dervish of a woman. This is my mother-in-law, whirlwind Jackie.