A year before we left Taiwan, Char’s parents downsized from a 3 bedroom home to a 2 bedroom apartment in a retirement community. Sorting through their many possessions, they set aside a lot of stuff things for us because we were “coming soon.” They did this with generosity and thoughtfulness. When we arrived here to settle in,, there were reclining chairs, bedroom suites, cabinets, a formal dining set with 6 chairs, a set of china, and lots more. We furnished the rest of our new home from thrift stores and a few judiciously chosen new pieces.
But before we got here, Char’s dad died. When the furniture that had been in storage was delivered to our house, every item was sentimentally loaded, if not for Char, then for her mother, who visited regularly. One way she helped us move in was directing as Char put china and glassware into the hutch that’s in the dining room. At our place it looks exactly as it did in her place, including the doilies!.
Four weeks ago, mom died. A certain amount of what’s in the 2 apartment will become part of the eclectic collection in our own place, which is already full. Things that fit into boxes might go directly into the basement. But the grandfather clock, a bedroom set, a rocking chair and another recliner will join us for the long term. Thankfully, with no one to be slighted at a gift not being on display or in use, some things can be “eliminated.”
This morning I disassembled a 1950s-era bedroom set and relocated it to the garage in preparation for disposal. Before the recliner from the apartment joins us, I’ll “de-accession” two that are in the house. We’ll be getting a matched set of lamps, which will mean some thrift store ones will leave the premises. The electric piano we’ve newly acquired will replace the one we haven’t yet used. Mom’s cedar chest will replace a chest of drawers that came with the house when we moved in. The two additional sets of dishes (one for daily use and the other for Christmas dinners) will replace others that we’ve been using for the past year.
Packing up and leaving Taiwan involved a lot of getting rid of stuff. Now we get to do it again. Feels like home.
Do you know anyone who wants a pair of reclining chairs?
David Alexander resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan.