Anne McAllister is getting ready to make a move.
Then last month we bought a house.
Not right away. You don't just pick up 40 odd years of life, dump it in a moving van and go. At least I don't.
But a year from now we expect to have sorted out those 40 odd years into the definitive "moving to Montana" piles and the "why have I kept that all these years?" piles, and heading west.
To that end, when our daughter was home visiting last week, she organized our onslaught against the attic.
Let me explain about the attic to those of you who live in post WWII houses with something that might be termed "actual closet space" -- we don't have any.
We have tiny closets -- five of them -- which includes the downstairs coat closet which was cut under the stairway and is, oh, maybe eighteen inches deep at the top, from which it descends to about three feet high at the back (beneath the stairs) before it gives up and ends in a wall. One of the closets has a window. One has drawers beneath it and a depth that is the width of a sportcoat -- barely.
But we have an attic. Anything of note that isn't immediately needed is in the attic. (Or the basement, but today we are NOT going there). That includes clothes for whichever seasons it is not, books, Christmas decorations, books, furniture, books, bikes, books scooters, books, toys, books, outgrown clothes for all seasons, even the one we are currently in, packing materials, books, suitcases, and . . . did I mention books?
Not all the books that everyone else in the world has written since the beginning of time. No, not just those. Mine, too. I've written 68 of them. I get 25 author's copies of each. (For some I got 100. What was I thinking?) I also get three copies of each foreign edition the publisher remembers to send me. Over the years, while I may have missed some, I've definitely received a lot.
Under Dear Daughter's guidance -- and firm resolve and boundless energy -- we dealt with most of them. Not just the books. All of it -- the clothes, the furniture, the whatnots and whirligigs and everything else.
I have been mailing boxes of memories to sons every day for the past week. I still have a few more boxes to go.
Surprisingly, it hasn't been all drudgery. It's even, astonishingly, been fun (see Friday Fun, above) We've shared memories, recollections, laughter. We've uncovered more Matchbox cars than any one family who doesn't own shares in the company should probably have. We have yet to find the youngest son's Construx -- though he insists they have to be there somewhere.
We've found two boxes of photos of people whom we absolutely do not know. They look like fun and interesting people, and we all wonder who they are -- and how we got their photographs (could they have come with the house? The photos were from the 60s. They went to the South Pacific. They had midwestern winters from the look of things.) If these sound like your photos, let me know and I'll send them on to you. We also have the solid cherry rocking chair -- which someone (not us!) painted white -- that belonged to our neighbors' grandfather. Now we just need to find some descendant who would like to have it back.
Mostly we had fun. We sifted our way through most of our married lifetime of memories. We looked back and it was good. We're looking forward, too, and that looks promising as well.
Now that the attic is semi-sorted, Anne is tackling the tiny closets -- and writing a four book series about the Men of Hard Broke Creek.
The first one, about Clint McCullough, will be out in the fall. Ten years ago, when Clint left Montana behind, he thought he had all the answers. Now he's back -- and it turns out he was wrong.
His younger brother, Cole, was the hero of Last Year's Bride which for a while this month was free on all ebook platforms. It might still be. Please check it out if you haven't. Clint gets a couple of very small mentions.