"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Clearing Mum's flat

We spent the weekend clearing out Daphne's two bed roomed flat - sorry, apartment - and I am knackered! The trouble is, after two days - which in some ways seems far too soon - the place looks like the denouement of The Sorcerer's Apprentice. It seems that we have achieved so little - until we took stock: 17 black bin-bags full of clothes to the charity shop. (My mother was the curator of the National Knitware Collection. I kid you not. Every time we opened a drawer it was crammed full of cardies! She was a true Cockney, but you'd think she'd have acclimatised to more northern climes after 23 years in Yorkshire!) Had she been physically present in the room with us she'd have been laughing, but making a case for every item to go back into the wardrobe. "Really Nanny? Really? You're 83. When will you ever wear that Dallas power-suit again?" "You never know. Put it back."

 Anna was a great help with the sorting, if often rather brutal about her grandmother's tastes. "Hahahaha. She never wore that?" "I'll have you know that shoulder pads were all the rage in the 1980s Young Lady." She had a point though: the 70s and 80s did seem to be the golden years for my parents' social lives: son fled the nest, a nice house, some disposable cash for the first time. The photos we unearthed - and my father was no photographer - showed very happy times with a lot of foreign travel.

 There is something slightly strange, almost an awesome responsibility, it felt, dismantling the collection of someone else's life. And the ornaments! Why, for instance, would a widow want 9 sets of various alcoholic drinks glasses? (In a Methodist Homes Association complex?) Or, indeed, that much bedding? There are currently 10 bags of bedding and Rachel, ("Don't start me on the bedding!") estimates more to come. "They must have bought a set of bedding every time they left the house! I know why you gave me this cupboard now!" Anyway, one way or another, it's all going to charity. Tomorrow, hopefully, the furniture goes and then we'll be able to see the wood for the trees.

 Bone china tea service anyone?

On the way out of Victoria Court, and loaded down with bin bags full of clothes for the charity shop, I encounter Mum's next-door neighbour. They had an odd relationship. On one occasion they brought the whole complex to a halt when Mrs. P. Chased mum down the corridor with a broom and mum barricaded herself in her flat. However, Mrs. P. who is not in good health herself, had been very solicitous of mum's health and had expressed genuine care and concern. In the last few weeks I had spent a little bit of time with her chatting and offering a little companionship. 

 She beckoned me over and, from her wheelchair, gave me a big kiss. "Now, just remind me who you are again." "I'm your neighbour Daphne's son." "Of course. Poor Daphne. How is she?" "She passed away on Friday morning." Mrs. P. Is galvanised into action and literally launches herself at me - not easy from a wheelchair - and embraces me. "Oh poor you. Well, poor Daphne, of course. I haven't seen her for a while. How is she?" "Erm ... I'm afraid she died Mrs. P. You'll have a new neighbour soon." Mrs. P. Visibly brightens. "Really? Who?"
Life goes on.

1 comment:

  1. I presented my Mother with a multi-everything Dianne Freiz dress to wear at her 50th anniversary celebration...truly it was a vivid and wonderfully collage of female attire engineering...she wore it the one time. When my Mother died the relatives came for the Memorial Service (clergy had been swept aside but the faith remained). One of my First Counsins is a very Mormon fellow with a very Southern Baptist wife. Not easy for them, but what the Hell? Anyway, the SB sortacousin asked me about the beautiful Diane Freize dress that had been warn two years early at the anniversary gala...I said it was amongst her things (huge walk in closet) and my sister and I would be going through everything soon. Odd thing happened, the SB/Mormon's slept in the Masterbedroom suite of my parents the night before the Memorial Service...presto, the Diane Frieze dress disappeared...it probably went to heaven. It looked like it came from heaven. You are doing really/really well, Sir. Excellent. Un gran abrazo, Len