Moving, and the ‘Getting Place’

I am moving! I had looked forward to moving into our community’s new Legacy senior residence [Midtown Park] since the day of its groundbreaking. Now it’s opened up, and I’ll soon be up with it myself, in a one-bedroom apartment facing south, with a little balcony off the living room where I can sit outside on nice weather days to watch the sun set.

Isn’t that a beautiful dream, just about ready to come true? Well, frankly, I never thought in advance about the nightmare side of it: having to make decisions on what to keep and what must go when you love everything you have. Why would I have so much if I didn’t love it all? But that’s what can happen after almost four decades of many things coming into a house, and almost nothing going out.

The place I’m leaving behind is a three-bedroom condo that my late husband and I bought in 1984. Mercifully, I don’t remember much about that move; he made the plans; all I had to do was make sure our two cats — who were trying hard to get away from the commotion — didn’t get lost in the shuffle. (We found them after the movers left us in our new home, comfortably rolled up in a carpet! We always knew cats are the smartest animals.…)

This time: no pets. But some things I once thought were very good ideas have turned into very bad ones. For example: I was charmed and impressed on my first visit to North Carolina relatives by my late Aunt Pauline — the very spirit of true Southern hospitality. She showed me her “Getting Place,” a large closet where she stored things destined to be given away. She’d buy in advance of birthdays and anniversaries for specific people, but she’d also buy other things when she saw them, with nobody specific in mind: “This will find its right owner someday,” she’d tell me. And she always had toys for children who might accompany their parents on a friendly visit. Nothing and nobody ever truly surprised Aunt Polly. But now I’m charged with moving lots of “stuff,” stored for those vague “somedays” that never came, in my own Getting Place.

The idea must have been a family one, because my Uncle Irwin, youngest of my mother’s many siblings, always had a selection of stuffed animals in the trunk of his car. Then, if he was out for lunch or dinner, and somewhere in the restaurant a child began to wail, he’d run outside and come back with something truly consoling. Noble, yes? And he also made some good friends of parents that way. But now, he too is gone, leaving me as the oldest in our large extended family, with no stuffed animals in my car — they’re all at home in my “Getting Place,” to be gotten from there. Or, as now, waiting to be located elsewhere.…

Trust me: Moving to the new Legacy is a lesson in pre-planned efficiency. First, a nice young woman comes to assess your current home, making an assortment of comments — some complimentary, some contradictory, some authoritative, like “Try to straighten up your office!” And only then will you find the futility lurking in those decisions you’ve already been trying to make regarding what will go with you into your new place, and what MUST go elsewhere NOW. Remember the old song “There’s No Tomorrow”? This is it!

Please visit me after I’ve relocated. I will certainly have a new Getting Place there, and surely I’ll be able to find something in it just right for you!

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