Change is hard. Moving across the country and rebooting your life is really hard. Moving from a large house to what will most likely be a very modest apartment when you’re a
hoarder avid collector is really, really, really hard.
So we’ve begun the process of whittling down my
unbelievable pile of stuff huge collection of amazing things. You can see what’s for sale at my online tag sale . There will be an actual in-house tag sale this Saturday. (Please! Tell your friends!)
But the virtual online event is so popular, I may continue it after the real event!
I’m learning a lot about how things work in today’s housing market, and how much the internet has changed the process. I’m learning what I have to put up with, and what I don’t. I’m learning to let go.
Today let me share with you the lesson illustrated in this little cocker spaniel flower pot.
This is a mid-century Royal Copley planter. It’s adorable, yes. It’s collectible, too. Yes, you can find a small one on Ebay for $3. (But don’t overlook the $15 shipping charge!) Most of them are listed much higher, $30 and up.
But this isn’t about how much money I can get for him, or what condition he’s in.
It’s about the story. Why he appeals to me so much, why I own him, and why I’m letting him go.
My grandmother had this planter in her kitchen window. It always held an ivy plant. She didn’t have many nice things. She and my grandfather had nine children instead. But every Sunday after church, and at every holiday meal and family get-together, I saw this little fellow in the window.
When my grandparents died within a year or so of each other, my father’s oldest sister Edith got the spaniel. And it sat in HER kitchen window. Aunt Edith was one of my favorite aunts, and I visited her often. So again, I saw the planter often.
My Aunt Edith didn’t marry until late in life, her mid-fifties. (And not for long, for her husband died within ten years.) She lived with my grandparents for many years. She never moved away from Gladwin. She never had children.
She was also my fourth grade teacher, and one of my greatest difficulties was calling her “Mrs. Hamilton (her married name) like all the other kids in class. But at least I got to see her every day.
That’s when I learned how much she had traveled. I think my new uncle belonged to a religious group, full of people who opened their homes to other members who traveled. So for ten years, she traveled extensively across the U.S. I remember her telling me she’d been to almost all the 50 states, including Alaska. And she brought back tiny treasures from each state. I was enamored of her small colored sand paperweight depicting a desert scene in Arizona. I inherited her tiny carved ivory dog from Alaska after she died.
I also got the spaniel planter.
Every time I look at it, I think of these women. We weren’t really a warm and fuzzy family. But I loved that connection.
So here’s the lesson: I know exactly what Aunt Edith would tell me about what to do with this planter.
She’d tell me to embrace change, no matter how late in life it finds you.
She’d tell me that having a loving partner is precious.
She’d tell me that memories mean more than mementos.
She’d tell me to move it on to someone else.
And she’d tell me to move to California.
Soon this little guy will sit in someone else’s kitchen window.
I hope it continues to create precious memories wherever it goes.