My parents had a good plan.
But it failed.
Now I understand why.
It's a combination of memories and frugality.
Mom and Dad's plan was to annually cull possessions they were not using, in part to make it easier on me, their only surviving child, to close out their house when that became necessary.
But they just could not part with anything that might someday be useful or that had attached memories. And in their home of 40 years, there was an accumulation of all of that.
We've been in our Mason County home a mere nine years, yet somehow we already ... or still ... have far too much.
We've marked the few things our son and daughter have indicated they will want.
There's still a lot left.
I've come to suspect that it may be easier for children to clean out a house. With time, distance and practical concerns, attachment to things weakens.
When my parents moved to a care home and I faced their vacated house, I discovered it was possible to be ruthless. There was no way I could keep the electric or treadle, two-spool sewing machine that was Mother's, her final purchase before marriage. She was an excellent seamstress and as I grew up, I wore many outfits she created on that machine.
It went out in a yard sale and, to my delight, a young neighbor woman was excited to buy it. It appeared it was going to a good home.
Nor did I want to haul from Michigan the fine glassware that brought back memories of family holiday and guest meals. We were able to persuade my niece to take it.
I do have a plate from Mom's first china set. Every time I use it -- and I do -- it evokes a fond, funny memory. It centers on Mother's love of hosting my friends, her pride in using her best set of dishes and the latter's destruction.
On the occasion in question, a number of my college friends had spent the night at our home, about 40 minutes from campus.
At breakfast Mom lifted plates from that "company set" of dishes from the top shelf of the cupboard where they were stored in front of the large platter.
We all heard the crash. The dislodged platter plunged down atop the dishes on the counter. Broken china scattered.