The Final Garage Sale
July 21 2007
My grandfather Vermal Brown died in 1997. My grandmother Grace Brown went into the hospital in April 2007, then into the nursing home, & she won't be coming home. When I was a girl, we looked forward to the end-of-summer garage sale Grandma threw every year. We lugged stuff there, priced, hung up, arranged. Our moms ran the garage sale with Grandma, us cousins all played. Someone always went to Kentucky Fried Chicken & brought back lunch. It was a working family reunion of sorts. Yesterday I had to work, my cousin Robin & her kids, my sister Lisa & her kids, Aunt Chardy, my mom, (maybe others?) ran Day 1 of the 2 Day garage sale. It was in Grandma's house, & everything had to go. Mom had been urging me to tell her what I wanted from the house. I lugged home bowling balls & bowling trophies & all the pics of my kids I ever gave to Grandma & Grandpa & the Great Grandparent mugs I had made for them for Xmas. But it all hit home today when I walked into their house & the plates were gone from the wall, everything had a price tag. It's not like my brother John didn't warn me....I lugged out furniture, accepted money, thanked people for coming. Mom, Aunt Chardy, Lisa & Max & Logan worked also. Doris Chambers, the first ex-wife of Cecil ( I think?) came to shop. I ended up bringing home more things I thought I couldn't live without....I brought home hens &chicks & transplanted...antiques...their desk for Katie's office... I posed Katie by Evie Maxwell's wheelchair. I took pics of the 3 kids by the lamppost & on front porch. Katie found 2 slugs & an african beetle in the cellar. We'll probably never go inside the house again...no more family dinners, or grandma's hot rolls & chocolate meringue pie. I looked up at the windows over the cellar & thought about how Grandpa would lay there in his hospital bed, looking to see who was out there. I grew up there. I have gotten too involved with my own life & dont' visit Grandma anymore. She always made time for me. Not everything sold, the daughters will have to deal with getting rid of the leftovers. And having the house assessed & listed & sold. They raised their girls in that house, &saw their grandkids running every holiday in that house. They even got to see great grandbabies in that house. I hope another family finds years of happiness there. Grandma & Grandpa worked so hard to pay for the house, & took care of it. They were very proud of it. In the history Grandma wrote for me, she listed every improvement they had made---carpet, additions. I miss my Grandma. After all the houses she's helped clean out after deaths, did she ever imagine her kids going through her things? Where they'd end up? What little momentoes would bring a smile to her family's faces? When people enquired about Grandma, mom would tell them that she made it 90 years on her own, & that is something to be proud of. She's right. It sure is. And I didn't cry until I started writing this. I felt close to it a few times at Grandma's. I know it is selfish to want her to live forever & just hang out at her house waiting for me to possibly show up out of the blue. Most days I don't feel old enough to have a Grandma in the nursing home. But I am.