Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Antiques and Artifacts

We're clearing out my parent's house. Slowly. In fact, I'm the only sibling who has been out to the house clearing out items. With the help of good friends, who have held my hand through the review and purging of mom's clothes and personal items, I have been the one to take charge and move forward on these necessary, but unpleasant tasks. I have been going to the Vineyard every month since my mom's death, just to be close to her things, to feel her aura, and embrace the sadness head-on. But as Summer turned to Fall and Winter, it got increasingly sad to visit with no plan or purpose. Why was I coming? With no TV or internet to entertain me, and no friends on the island, why was I going there? It wasn't exactly convenient.

I knew that we wanted to try and sell the house, or rent it in the Spring, and I knew I'd rather go through some of this stuff with friends rather than with my two brothers. How sad would that be? So in January, I decided to get on board and take control. It worked out fine because I offered my friends a few things that would have ended up in the thrift shop. I know my mom would have preferred they have her things. And as I mentioned before, I have already brought a few too many of her things back to my house. Now if I could only get my friends to come over and help sort out MY house, things would be perfect...

Looking through the house, there are a few antiques, a few collectibles, and lots of "stuff". How do you put a value on an item you don't plan on selling? I'm addicted to Antiques Roadshow, Cash & Cari, American Pickers, and sometimes even Pawn Stars. I know we don't have collections that would make anyone jealous, and I'm hoping we don't decide to appraise any of the items as that seems like a waste of money. How do you put a price on memories?

There's a bookcase at the top of the stairs and it's filled with books that might be 100 years old by now. It was my Grandfather Ericke's glass cabinet that he bought and filled with books. He couldn't afford to go to college in 1910 so he decided he would read the classics and teach himself what he thought he would learn in school. My grandfather was a sweetheart, and he used to move with us when my dad would be transferred to another city or state. He grew up in Chicago. He often told the story about how he had arrived at a club in Chicago ten minutes after Al Capone had "shot it up." I loved that story.

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