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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