Saturday, July 14, 2012

Moving Right Along: A Photo Essay and Explanation

Here's what you need to know:

On my mother's side, mostly 3rd and possible 4th generation Jews and on one branch of that side, survivors of the Spanish Inquisition. On my father's side, escapees from late 19th century and early 20th century pogroms. Everyone was safely in the United States of America during the Shoah.

Nevertheless, like many Jews raised during the 1950s and 1960s, I was raised to know at the very core of my being that I would always and forever be at risk for extermination or diaspora. Along with this certain knowledge came an essential instruction for living: be ready to flee.

Not that this was ever stated explicitly, but the message came through in the habit of double wrapping leftovers (i.e., waxed paper and then foil) lest we get into another relying-on-manna situation. The message came through in what my mother called Ruthless* Days, during which we'd redefine family treasures and ruthlessly toss or donate non-essential items.

Fast forward and here I am, a 1st century Jew (i.e., a follower of The Way) and married to a pack-rat, who hails from a long line pack-rats. God is such a kidder. Now, with a signed contract for a town-home and an anticipated closing date of August 23rd, the serious push to rethink possessions is on.

Truth to tell, that process has been ongoing in my life for nearly 60 years, so it has been relatively easy for me to take another pass through and toss yet more files, books, and tchotchkes. For Dan? Not so much but he's getting into the swing of debridement with admirable good humor, which is yet another reason I married him.

Only three of many bins packed with memorabilia

A glimpse at the scary sorting process

A glimpse at the sacred recycling process

[create your own caption]

* Dear Ruth: Sorry about this adjective. You know I could never live my life without you!


  1. LOL re the adjective! I believe people should strive to be 'ruthful, not 'ruthless' - except when it comes to getting rid of stuff they have to schlep. Having seen you do this, let me say the pictures really don't do it all justice.

  2. Dan "the groom" WebsterJuly 14, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    There is a sense of lightening the load that does feel quite healing. Do I really need that 39 year old reel-to-reel tape of six radio news stories I entered in the Arizona Press Club competition? No. But keep your hands off my FCC Third Class Radio Telephone Operator License.

  3. Love the post and love the comments. During my 37 years of marriage to a clergyman we moved twelve times but my former spouse was in fourteen churches during that time. I have been in my townhouse for ten years now and I'm not even thinking about moving but I try to sort and donate rather than collect.

  4. Love this post! Such a delight always to read your words. A caption for the last picture?

    "Room for more, Dan, but not much!"

  5. I never knew that Dan and I had so much in common...

    I love your description of being shaped into the kind of person who could leave on a moment's notice, with double wrapped food, no less.

  6. Sing along with me:
    "I'd like to teach the world to clean, in perfect harmony..."

  7. Meredith, I think we could clean up lots of clutter together!! Love the song.

  8. Meredith, I definitely could use your skills at my home. Our condo has a one in/one out rule. I do well with that until it comes to media: especially books and DVDs.

    Best wishes to you and Dan on the move (which translates to: Better you than me!)


Thanks for your comment and please consider continuing this conversation with me on Twitter and Facebook!