Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cali and Cleaning out Mom's house

Happy Birthday to the Beautiful and Talented Daughter in Law.  We love you.

Now, a Cali update. She is fitting in well after a few dramas.  Who knew cats were a little high maintenance? 

Not me.  I've never had a cat and Cali is not mine.  She belongs to Step Son and Daughter in Law who are staying with us. 

My Dad didn't like cats.  Should I tell this story?  Well yes, because it fits into the next one.  My Dad didn't like cats because they came into the yard and left little packages in the bark dust.  At one point, our yard was spotless and beautiful.  You'll see a picture of it now below.

So Dad would lie in waiting for the neighbor cat with a pellet gun.  He delivered a little package of his own to the maraudering cats' behinds when he got the chance.  He believed that it trained the cats to stay away, but it never really work. 

Anyway, I grew up thinking cats were the Devil.  I've come to like Cali.  Why she wants to be in our shower, I do not know.  Any cat lovers out there care to explain that to me? She is offered plenty of water.

The Golden Retriever has come to enjoy Cali's presence.  So much so that Cali has moved from the Barbie house to behind the couch.  Yes, this is really behind my couch.  Blogging is a personal and intimate medium.  Don't you think?

So to continue on another note, we've been cleaning out Mom's house with a plan of selling it or renting it. This was a house that my Dad built in 1962.  I was 3 years old when we moved in.  I'm 51 now.  I was raised here.  And left as fast as I could trot at the end of the summer of 1977.  Not wander, Melynda.  As fast as I could trot!   

It's pretty tough cleaning out Mom's house.  I say it that way because Dad passed away in 1995.  I opened a closet just after taking this picture and found his jackets and Carharts, a couple fishing rods and tackle boxes, a rain jacket, as if he had just left them.  It's all so weird.  My sister says she can only do it so long each time because it makes her soul tired.  Well said, my darling.  

This all seems a little intimate, but after all.  You've seen behind my sofa.  We are old friends.  This was my room growing up.  It's changed a lot.  It had a blue linoleum floor then, a bed along the wall to the left, a dresser along the wall to the right and a little desk in the corner in the center of the picture.  I didn't grow up with much.  I was a grown up adult before I ever saw a closet full of clothes.  It was such an extreme experience that I still remember it to this day.    

We made garbage piles,  Goodwill piles, and piles to try to sell.

But mostly the lesson for me is that this was a whole successful and interesting life.  The associated STUFF is unimportant, really. 

But the sentimental aspects are huge for those involved.  Let me grab a tissue and I'll continue. 

This little kitchen is where I learned what food was.  My mother was a really great cook.  Not a gourmet.  A Paula Deen sort of cook. 

She fried chicken in Wesson Oil in an electric skillet on the counter in the near right view of this picture.  She made the most fabulous homemade raised donuts.  I can smell them now as I write this. 

My mother and father were children during the Depression on farms outside Cleo Springs, OK.  They grew up in houses without plumbing.  My dad went to school in a one room school, literally. 

But their children went to College.  My mother went to England and Africa.  The distance they came in life was not humble or small.  And those who have something to say about traditional America can come say it to me.  I am the beneficiary a lot of hardship and pain.

I was in the front of the house, my sister in Mom and Dad's bedroom.  I heard her say, "OH GOD, OH GOD."  We had had a pretty big day.  Found some pretty amazing stuff.  I ran back. But nothing prepared me for this.  So seriously Mom.  What was this about? 

My father had a large collection of records.  You know records?  I looked through them carefully. 
I'm not a record expert. 

Who knows? There could have been something rare and valuable. But probably not.  Mostly Glenn Miller.  No Beatles White Album.  

And, here is where I stopped to buy penny candy on my way home from school. You might imagine it looked a little different then.  Just a beer and lottery place now.   

You remember penny candy.  No?

Remember.  It's important.  


  1. Happy Birthday to the daughter in law! Hope it was the best. Now about the cat, my cat does the same thing. I have wondered if it is not the tub shape is inviting because it is like a small fenced area. The same thing is true here, the cat gets plenty of water. You and your sister have been very busy with some great and hard work. You have the pleasure of exploring how well your folks lived life and their accomplishments, and then there are the sweet memories to take apart and keep safe to remember them later. Take care.

  2. My sisters and I are cleaning out our parents house while my husband simultaneously tries to remodel. Talk about confusion and emotional upheaval! All this while I try to look after my mother in my home. I may need the nursing home by the time it's all said and done.