Day 72: Closure day.

The Book says something about calling your old kindergarten and asking if they’ve found a toy you once lost there. I couldn’t do that, because I didn’t lose toys at kindergarten, I stole toys from kindergarten. Little plastic bears, which I smuggled home in my socks. Like a boss.

Anyway. Closure is a strange thing.

My grandmother and my aunt — my mom’s mom and sister — have moved (this very weekend) to Sherman. This is, in almost every way, a good thing, and it’s a move that’s been a long time coming. Yesterday was “moving out day,” and today was “moving in day” – although “moving in day” is almost never only one day, as anyone who’s moved before knows. Lorna and I once took nearly a month moving from one apartment to another mere miles away — but we were young and stupid then, and she was eight months pregnant with Elanor. Extenuating circumstances, something like that.

Yesterday was the day that we loaded everything into the moving van, and the day that I drove away from that house for the last time. (Of course, by the time I was actually driving away, I was so tired it barely registered.)

My grandmother has lived in that house for as long as I can remember. Until I got married, that was the house I had Christmas in — Christmas Eve dinner, Die Hard, Midnight Mass, and then Christmas morning with stocking and breakfast and presents. I was about to start a list of memories in a “that was the house where” format, but there are too many, because it has always existed for me. Cataloging memories of that house is like writing my autobiography in brief, and I don’t have the time.

It’s just a house, of course — and now my kids can see their great-grandmother every day, and we might all be together for Christmas for the first time in a long time. Someone else will move in to the old house, and have memories of their own (some of which will probably involve the squirrelly plumbing in the kitchen – trying to disconnect the water to the refrigerator was an hour-long ordeal involving the dishwasher, several towels, and a tire iron).

Leaving a place for the last time — especially when you know it’s the last time — has a finality to it that reminds you of the transience of all things. That’s a good thing to be reminded of from time to time — and I tried, today, through the hauling of boxes and furniture and the loading of the U-Haul, both to remember and to bid farewell – though I was often distracted, by the hauling and the loading and whatnot.

The house didn’t bid farewell back, of course. It’s just a house – and not a house like this, thank God, or I might not be here today.


One Comment on “Day 72: Closure day.”

  1. Steve Goldsmith says:

    It is probably my standard not-thinking-about-how-certain-events-are-affecting-people-around-me, it might be that I knew I was coming back to the house in 36 hours, or it might be that I had grokked the fullness of the fact that we were walking away from that house permanently, but I did not think about how the move would affect Chris. He helped with the hard work of figuring out what to load into the U-Haul truck, actually moving stuff into the truck, arranging it, figuring out what to put into the back of the pickup truck, keeping his mother from freaking out from the stress, unhooking the refrigerator from its water supply (which really was an hour’s hard work, and it did require a tire iron, and it is actually not done yet), and he did it all with his typical equanimity. He did the hard work of moving a significant part of his family out of a house that had been, for him, all of their history and of his with them – not an easy thing to do. Thanks Chris.

    The house has some permanence, but our occupancy of it was always transcient. We did a lot of hard work there (most recently during the blizzard of 2009), had a lot of happy family times there, and had some stressful, less than happy family times there. The house is still there, and so are the memories. If anyone is interested in a great house near Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City, and has $185,000, we have a deal for you.

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