My dad, Walter Gorske, was a pretty smart fellow.
Though he passed away in 1984, this is the first year of my life that I can remember when he was wrong. He always stated with absolute certainty that it was not done snowing until it had snowed on the forsythia. Then winter would be over. No more snow.
This year, along comes a gorgeous Easter Sunday when, after church, I was able to take a walk in my jeans and T-shirt. The forsythia had already had their dousing of snowflakes and certainly we were in the clear. Then came the following weekend, burying us in one of the biggest snow storms of the season. Oh well. I guess people can’t always be right, even though I was sure my dad was infallible.
He did get one thing right, though. I clearly remember sitting at dinner one night when he sighed heavily, put down his fork and announced, “You know, I’ve been thinking about cleaning out the basement.” Big pause. “Then I decided to just leave it for you girls.” He did. Luckily, my uber-organized, super-efficient, highly-methodical, wonderful sister (gosh, I hope she’s reading this) bought our family home and she tackled the task with great aplomb.
All these years after that dinner, I know that his decision was a good one. My husband Joe and I have joined the “Not Really Ready for Kendal but Maybe We Ought to Downsize Group.” To that end, we have built a house in Morningside, which is a 55 and older “active adult community” (as though between my theater and his music we aren’t already active enough!). They take care of the lawn, the plantings, the snow removal, etc. They have a clubhouse with indoor and outdoor pools, an exercise room, a bocci ball court, a putting green, and all sorts of neat things. The thing is, though, it turns out we didn’t really downsize as our new house has a few more square feet than the one we have inhabited for 32 years.
Yes, believe me, 32 years can lead to a lot of accumulation, which gets me back to Dad’s point. All those decades ago, when we first saw our basement we exclaimed, “Wow! We will never fill this up.” Wrong. As far as square footage goes, there was not much left that was bare down there by the time we decided upon this move. Then there are the closets. Would that my sister would have come over to sort through all of that for us!
She did give me this crazy book that is apparently wildly popular. It’s all about purging one’s home. Each item is to be touched and if it gives a feeling of joy it’s to be kept; if not, it’s kaput. That just didn’t work for me. The kilt and vest my parents bought for me when I was in high school still brought me joy when I touched them, but since it was several sizes ago is it really practical to move them to the new house? I also got great joy when I touched the cat we used in “The Last Dance of Dr. Disco” when my drama club performed it at Presti’s. The thing is we had spray painted it to look disgusting since it was supposed to have been blown up, so it’s pretty ugly, but the joy of that Moushey mystery with my students came rushing back. So much for the book.
So we have a mountain of boxes to pack up all those years worth of stuff and Dad’s words echo in my brain quite frequently. Maybe we should have just stayed put so as to simply leave it for our girls. Sigh!
I’d expound upon it further, but I must go pack up another joyful box!
Pat Gorske Price graduated from Oberlin High School and taught English and drama there for 12 years. In retirement she continues to enjoy writing and theater. Comments can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.