The Bell

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.

9 comments… add one
  • Damn it, Dave, you made me cry again!

    Thank you for sharing this.

  • SandraC Link

    Huge bundles of sympathy to you and your siblings in the loss of your mother. Bundling the belongings of a parent and sharing them with others is a healing part of the adjustment.

    I’m so glad you were able to do this. When our beloved Mom died, her second husband didn’t allow us to take anything, and even reluctantly had us over after the Memorial. He was so angry because doing the necessary things cost HIM over $1,000 of HER money!! It was such a cruel thing to do. A year later, he called our beloved auntie (sister of Mom), telling her she had an hour to get over and pick up her sister’s things or they’d be “put out on the street”, another cruel show of power, because Aunt Mary didn’t have a vehicle, didn’t drive, and had to beg somebody to drive her the mile over to his house right NOW. My sister and I had a healing time sorting through her clothes when I visited that fall (I live in Florida), and we were able to enjoy handling her things, keeping some, knowing she had warn them. We never did get anything we gave her for the house, what was such a cruel blow because I sent her many sweet things while we spent 5 years in Holland, knowing I loved it, she would love it and I would treasure it knowing that she had enjoyed it. I was amazed that my mother managed to find such a power-loving man to marry after our father, but come to think of it, her second was from CHICAGO, too!!

    We didn’t get the nicer things of her jewelry, either, but felt so lucky to get the many trinkets that she had enjoyed.

  • SandraC Link

    Oh, and gosh, the ‘elephant bell’ is fabulous! An amazing item to enjoy. Will you have some sort of wood frame made to show it to best advantage? Great antique.

  • Jan (Surkamp) Johnson Link

    Love and prayers for all of you…

  • Beautiful piece, Dave.

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