Still Navigating the Obstacle Course

Those who have followed my family are aware that my Dad passed away in March.  He had a fine life, and in fact, a fine death.  I have covered it pretty comprehensively at Janet's Planet- but there are a lot of details associated with losing the last parent.  Miraculously, his condo in suburban Detroit sold, and though we donated an abundance of furnishings, the six kids became pretty sentimental about their "stuff."  Well, at least I did.  I absorbed an assortment of my parents' furniture, and our living room looks like a Salvation Army showroom.  The dining room set I adopted looks comforting, in a retro sort of way.  My perfectly good old dining room is living in the garage and so is a lamp that my Mom had since her first apartment. CIMG0916.JPG It has been deemed too frightening to incorporate into any room.  She looks content next to Steve's car.  My car now lives on the driveway.  Steve has been a great sport, though he is unaware of the dominoes that have started to tip:  we will need to re-paint, re-upholster and rearrange our rooms, all for furniture he has dubbed "old people's furniture."  We are officially old, my husband.

Most of the choice morsels I scavenged are parked willy nilly in the living room.  Included in this booty is a plastic bag surrounding my parent's archived history.  There are edited photo albums covering seven decades.  Things fell off when Mom died- Dad rubber banded photos together and stuffed them in a drawer.  Mom and Dad's wedding album is now in Chicago, as is my Mom's wedding organizer.  I have a comprehensive list of every gift the Joliats received, and a sales slip for a $40.00 satin nightie.  In 1947, that was wickedly expensive.  I also found an Olin Mills photograph that Dad had taken in 1999.  He sent each of us a copy, with the explanation that his Mother died without a good photo, and he wanted us to have a reminder of him after he departed.  We wondered why he chose to wear a polo from a golf club that he was not a member of.  Still, we all dutifully installed it in shrines, despite the fact that we did not have a complementary 8 X 10 of Mom.  The extra one I found must have been reserved for his anticipated girlfriend.  He got the girlfriend, kept the photo.

Other discoveries included vacation themed albums, featuring a whimsical Tom and a silly Elaine.  These were not our stern parents of record:  they waited until we were in high school to vacation alone, and they were celebrating.  If they had conceived of what the liberated Joliat kids were doing, their demeanors would have shifted.     Ignorance is bliss- that is one maxim I embraced as a parent.  On the sad side, I found copies of Granny Joliat's death certificate, and the receipt for her vault.  Now I suppose it is my duty to oversee the warranty.   I am also the new owner of my Dad's prodigious collection of holy cards from the funerals of his friends and family.  The early issues were stuffed in Mom's missal.  These are the ones he had installed under the glass of his nightstand, so when he hit his knees, he could remember who to pray for.  When I was home, I would thin them out so he would not be sad as he headed to bed.  And he would fish them out and replace them.  Living long means saying many goodbyes.  Being Catholic means praying to push family and friends into Heaven.  I guess I have inherited this job as well.  
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  • Get that adorable lamp out of the garage! Head straight to Anthropologie and buy a better suited lampshade, it will make a huge difference.
    It is amazing what a coat of white paint can do for not so cute furniture. You need to get started before it gets chilly.
    I have a huge collection of holy cards from all of the Italian funerals my Grandparents went to in Dearborn.
    Good luck!

  • In reply to LindaCrispell:

    I have a weird feeling that my Grandma Joliat painted that lamp- she was an art school graduate - in the 1920's both of my grandmothers graduated from college. Imagine! One was a painter, one was a musician, who graduated from Northwestern. I will move her in from the garage, and maybe she will speak to me- or scare me into tossing her.

  • In reply to LindaCrispell:

    Leave a comment...

  • In reply to LindaCrispell:

    Hi Janet
    I too am a loyal Janet's Planet reader. You are such a gifted writer and many times your writings have brought me to tears.
    I'm so glad we will get to hear from you more.

  • Hey Janet...if I had a dime for every prayer card my mom collected over the years...and me too for that matter. I guess it was understood that you always took one from any funeral you attended. Glad to 'see' you here...I feel like I'm talking to a friend over a cup of coffee (well, diet coke, I'm not a coffee drinker!).

  • Hi,
    I was a loyal JANET PLANET reader and I will continue reading entries on your new site. Is there anyway you can send an e-mail link when you place an entry? Will you be blogging every day? You do not know me but I feel a part of your family and have been a Steve fan all my life (well since Sophmore year in HS, I am now 47)

  • In reply to sglosswodka:

    I will work on it. I will also nag Steve to send an alert when I add a blog. He has a great master list. Maybe there is a mechanism here- I am still learning the ropes. I hope to hit my stride and blog 4-5 times a week. i am bursting with things to talk about....but I am such a flitterer that I have not done it yet today!

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