It was a four-Advil-dozen loads of wash kind of day.
Everything we traveled with and all the treasures we retrieved needed to be purged of cigarette smell. The suitcases sat airing on the patio all day, and many of the paper items and other non-washable things are quarantined to the garage--a cookbook, family photos, two purses, a beautiful piece of art that hung on the dining room wall of my mom's and aunt's apartment that they salvaged from the trash (see previous post)--tossed out most likely because the glass in the frame was broken. They never re-framed the piece, and it absorbed twenty years of smoke. All of these things will be beautiful--or at least utilitarian someday.
I've succeeded in putting almost everything away.
I love old family items, but I'm afraid the enormous skillet might be too heavy for the drawer under the cooktop. I wonder where my grandmother and my great aunts kept it.
It was easier to find a place for the 1940s beads and the crocheted jewelry (my mom made quite a few of these necklaces and earrings once upon a time.)
The crocheted bedspread and a dozen doilies and dresser scarves are soaking in the washing machine.
Is the bedspread destined for my bed? Maybe...but there's already a well-worn and much loved quilt on it that my mom made for me. Stay tuned.
As for my mother herself, the unpacking was quite the effort. She circled around all day, losing this, finding that; telling me little tidbits about an old family prayer book, a pair of earrings, a couple of old watches. Nothing really valuable in the sense that people would pay hundreds for it, but treasures in their own way.
I'm tired. I drank too much wine at dinner.
And trying to come to terms with the fact that the City of Angels no long holds one of my beloved writing teachers, Les Plesko. Like most of his former students, I learned of his death on Tuesday, and each morning since then, I've done that thing we do when someone is newly gone from us. No, that was a dream, I think as I wake. He's here. But he isn't. And won't be. I think of him as I drop into sleep. Try to imagine. Try not to imagine.