Over the weekend I returned to St. Louis to organize and oversee the distribution of my Mother’s personal effects among my siblings and me. I had already photographed and catalogued things, boxing small items, and we had all expressed our preferences for things, resolving overlapping wants in the extraordinarily peaceful and loving way that is characteristic of my family. Over the weekend I re-packed everything, moving Mother’s china, glass, bric-a-brac, books, and what-not from the boxes in which I had packed them into boxes neatly labelled for each of my siblings and me, carefully re-packing them for their trips to their new homes.
There were thousands of individual items and more than forty bankers and medium-sized (2′ x 2′ x 2′) moving boxes. Some of the items were rather large, for example a large woven oak basket, two feet across and nearly two feet tall. Some were very small, thimble-sized or even smaller. Most of the items didn’t have much value as it’s usually reckoned but they’re packed with memories and meaning to me.
For example, see the little, worn brass elephant bell up above. It’s just about two inches across and certainly more than 70 years old. When we were little and became sick and had to stay in bed, the little brass bell was placed on a table at our bedside. We were to ring it when we needed our mother.
I’m ringing it now.