16 February 2010

Magpie Tales-Moving Day

The boxes were packed save for one room. Filled with books and mementos of the last seventy years, she wouldn’t let the movers in and insisted on packing it herself. Her children hovered as she took the books from the shelves only acknowledging them when she couldn’t reach or a book was too heavy. It took five days and when it was done she allowed her children to pack away the photos, the awards, the bric brac until there was one thing left, a silver trophy engraved with her name and branches. Her son held it up for her to see, “Mother, what about this?”

Her son, an architect and her daughter, a writer; she had raised them, proud of their accomplishments and watched their children grow to be younger versions of her children. At 93, she had long moved past her hope to connect. They lived their lives outside and away from her mainly because she refused to give up her independence. Now as her eyesight failed and her mind moved from year, to day and forgot the tea kettle on the stove, it was decided she be better off in a nursing home. How silly that term—nursing home. Given what she had seen of her friends, there was little to do with nursing and it was certainly not home. Her books would go to the library in town and she would go to the home.

“Perspicacious” she said.

Her son looked at her with concern and her daughter drew near with a shawl for her shoulders.

He moved closer to her, the trophy suddenly more alive in his hands. She took and placed it in her lap, gazing at the branches, remembering when she was twelve years old and after having spelled “perspicacious” feeling the triumph and happiness in her heart as she held the trophy in her hands for the first time. She wore a yellow dress,  her hair was braided and tied with matching ribbons. Her mother stood and clapped as she stood on stage holding the trophy.

She smiled and handed it back to her son, “You can put it in the garage sale pile.”

More Magpie Tales may be found here!

23 comments:

subby said...

AAAAAHHHH! Not the garage sale! I like your take on this, C.M. So many things the adult kids are want to get rid of, regardless of the memory values placed upon them, yes?

willow said...

Perspicacious! What sweet memories. I cringed at the thought of the garage sale. Don't you wonder at the beloved objects that end up in flea markets and garage sales? Especially old photos, separated from families.

Beautiful piece.

Queenmothermamaw said...

How true, how true. I had all of my grandmother's things after my mother died and I was so tired of looking at the furniture, no room for all the china and things, so I divided them all out to all the grands.
Good story.
QMM

deb said...

loved it .
So many layers and images in perfectly chosen words.

visiting from willow's prompt,
thx for sharing

Ruth said...

Wonderful idea this prompt, and your story (true?)! I loved it, and I was pulled in from the first line. Excellent writing.

Brian Miller said...

wonderful tale. i finally came to terms with my mom putting all my star wars figures in the yard sale...

Vicki Lane said...

So lovely;so sad.

Ronda Laveen said...

Ah, the pitcher became a portal back in time. Sweet!

tori said...

here from Magpie. I was actually more sentimental than my grandmother was about things. I wish I had many of the things she let go in garage sales.

Reya Mellicker said...

Willow is such an inspiration. I love all the different takes on her image. Wow. Thanks.

C.M. Jackson said...

subby-yes, sad but in a way a part of life--her memories are now her most important possessions

C.M. Jackson said...

willow--your magpie has taken flight and is collecting magic!! I often wonder about the photos--how could anyone part with them? Look forward to reading everyone's take on your prompt. best-c

C.M. Jackson said...

QMM--it is daunting and makes me want to simplify --thank you for you kind words-c

C.M. Jackson said...

deb--thanks --hope to read your tale soon! c

C.M. Jackson said...

ruth--not true but imagined based upon a woman who lives on my block in a big house all alone refusing to be moved and still going strong in her nineties--c

C.M. Jackson said...

brian--remember the force is always with you....

C.M. Jackson said...

vicki--thank you.

C.M. Jackson said...

ronda---it is a pitcher isn't? I guess I really fell into the prompt and sort of saw what spoke to me--thanks for stopping by-c

C.M. Jackson said...

tori--your grandmother is smiling down at you right now--all those things are in your heart!c

C.M. Jackson said...

reya--

willow is amazing and her latest blog will inspire all of us--c

PattyF said...

Perspicacious is one of my favorite words! This was a beautiful response to the prompt. I could really feel the woman's sadness at her emotinal distance from her family. Most of us never bother to find out what our older family members were like in their youth until it's too late. Thanks for sharing this!

Betsy said...

Very nice! Perspicacious? What a word! LOL! I, too, wonder at the 'stuff' in flea markets and garage sales. Someone loved that stuff at one time!

Jerry said...

Just taking a gander at fellow magpie contributors...and your words gave me pause. First of all, we care for my wife's 94 year old mother -- and she is rapidly losing her faculties...at least from our perspective. Secondly, at 65 I find myself paying attention to age related stuff.

I did enjoy this.

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