A few months ago my wife reminded me that we had a big house, actually only three baths and four bedrooms, but two floors and an elegant stairway going up from a big dining room on the first floor into a huge room on the second floor, about 20 by 40 feet, what we called la grande salle and where we had several thousand books in IKEA “Billy” bookshelves lining three of the four walls… she was reminding me that we had all that including a large garden out front and three Tuff Sheds out back for pottery, woodworking, and gardening, while our grandkids with their mother, our youngest daughter, and their father had a little house. Given that situation she asked why we didn’t just swap houses with them, move into their place and they into ours? Well only for an instant did I think about what she said, and replied, yes, why not.
Now it’s several months later and we’re comfortably living in their little house across from the park and they in ours. We had in our big house more stuff than they had in their little house, much more and that’s been the “rub.” And it’s still rubbing. We haven’t yet moved all of our stuff and I don’t think we ever will, at least in this life. One does accumulate things and during our some 56 years together we have accumulated stuff, much from our travels, our moving about, in particular from our some ten different residences during all those years. We probably still have a good percentage of our accumulated stuff, perhaps the highest percentage being of our books and kitchen stuff, dishes etc., reading and eating being the most substantial activities of all those years, as much as two thirds of our books, of the rest what remains today I wouldn’t venture even a guess.
For two of our principal residences were in France, some 20 years in Provence, most of our French stuff remaining there, handed off to friends and family when we left, but we’re still “in” (the digs are now owned by our children) a small Paris apartment where we also have there, as now, to most mark our presence, books. While we almost no longer go to Paris the books, many of them are still there, although each time we go to Paris their number comes down by the number we can carry back in our hand luggage along with cheese, marron glacé and saussison. (Although I should mention that these items, plus other French treasures are now available at Amazon Prime.)
My wife doesn’t always let me know all that she has held onto over the years. And much of it is hidden. Of her stuff it can’t be more than one third, or less that is still with us today. As I say, I wouldn’t venture here even a guess. Then there are our beds, often the biggest personal items we’ve owned, aside from the fixed appliances and the automobiles, the appliances remaining in the house as is the custom, and the automobiles often handed over to the Salvation Army used car fleet. And in fact, as I say that I wonder how much of our stuff has ended up in Salvation Army and Good Will showrooms? Both places I’ve been to occasionally looking for interesting items of clothing or just surprises, although as a rule I was only there because of my wife who was looking for clothes no longer in style and therefore no longer available in the normal clothing outlets where we might go, say Macy’s or Old Navy. But I’ve never encountered in either place any of my own throw away items.
Actually, during the recent move to Santiago from San Luis, this time we did move our beds, found three guys and a truck on the Internet, although moving our beds was not the rule for our past moves. We didn’t seem to ever want to take our beds with us. Perhaps because we were never satisfied with our beds, always looking for something better. Right now we have IKEA mattresses and we’re happy with them and have them with us here in our new “little home.”
I guess I’m trying to write the history of our present move. And as I’ve said, and am learning yet once again, writing this history, or any history is just not in the cards. To write history one has to have a beginning, not to mention an ending. And here I am right now, smack in the middle of our move, with no future with an end, nor even a past with a beginning in sight. Although as I say that I realize that even here right now there are beginnings. There have to be, and there have to be endings also. But who knows where all which is now present began? (The Dallas shootings were yesterday, but where and when did they begin? That’s a history still to be written.)
How about beginning with my wife’s comment that we swap houses? It does seem to be an idea that we both must have had much earlier, because it was so immediately acceptable to the both of us….