Someone else's things
One of my loyal readers wrote me an email to tell me "You talk about getting old too often." Well, dear reader, you'd better stop reading now, because this column fits that topic. And, welcome to my world. I write about what I know. Getting older is a very familiar feeling. When you consider the alternative, I suppose we should all be grateful for living a long life.
When we bought our Ocala home, it came fully furnished. We would not have needed to buy one thing or move one thing from our Pawleys Island home. However, we did buy some stuff and we did move some stuff.
I had to keep my grandfather's icebox, my grandmother's dining room table, my Aunt Madaline's marble-top table and my Mom's chaise lounge and old card table. Jim wanted to keep quite a few tried and true tools. We also moved our bedroom furniture to FL because we love the Queen sleigh bed.
We transferred some of the Ocala home items to the PI house and vice-versa. It took a few trips back and forth to make both homes comfortable, livable, and organized.
We have now lived in Ocala for six months. And, during that time, we have recognized that we are surrounded by other people's stuff. I have never in my life purchased anything pink for home décor. However, the previous owner loved pink. Our kitchen, master bath and dining nook look as if Barbie threw up pink flowers. The guest bedroom and the guest bath are also pink.
The dishes in the cupboard are deep rose, the curtains are a rosy stripe, and the hot pads and towels are pastel pink. Luckily, the rugs are a nice neutral shade and the master bedroom is a light blue.
Each time I feel like complaining about being immersed in a pinky world, I remember why these items are here. The previous owners could no longer live alone - the husband had Alzheimer's and the wife had cancer. They were forced to leave their lovely FL retirement home and move into their daughter's condo in Chicago. They took a minimal amount of items along with them.
When we first explored the cabinets, closets, and drawers, we found everything that one might need - even linens, detergent, canned goods and serving dishes. In the den, there were games on the shelves. The bathroom closet held extra paper goods and towels. The garage was a treasure trove of tools and nuts and bolts. We were happy with our newfound items.
It was only after we lived here a while that I began to feel sad. I thought of how hard it must have been for the former owners to move and leave behind so much of their lives. And, as we grew more accustomed to our development, I noticed that our situation was not rare - it was the norm.
People who buy houses here usually inherit the past lives of departed residents. Once the children and grandchildren have taken what they want, the rest is sold with the house.
I know that Dee (the former owner) loved this house. She took great care of it and filled it with warmth and charm. Living with her things hasn't been a burden - it's been a rosy blessing.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.