Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!

Welcome to my cyber neighborhood coffee shop! Grab a mug of your favorite beverage and a cozy chair to read and comment a bit. Be sure to try a piece of black forest cake or tiramisu. Try both; cyber-cake is calorie free!

Contact Nani at

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Cleanup Is Done!

My brother and I with our spouses and occasional other family members have been going up to Michigan every few weekends since March to work on cleaning up and out my Grandmother’s house and prepare things for the estate sale and sale of the house. Yesterday, we loaded furniture into a huge rented truck to travel to an auction house in Indianapolis, which will be handling the cataloging and sale for us. Before leaving the small town that was my grandparents' retirement paradise, we stopped at the real estate office and signed the papers for sale.

Dave and I agreed that the small town in the woods we enjoyed so much since 1982 didn’t have the charm as a destination anymore. The magic was seeing Grandma and Papa and visiting with them. I remember having enough comp days after the busy spring season when I worked as a producer for local TV that I had an extra week in the summer to spend with them. It was always wonderful! I got to be a spoiled little kid again!

In May 1994, the day after I got my new Camaro, I drove up to visit them for the weekend. I didn’t tell them I’d gotten a new car. When I went in, I tried to sound appalled when I said I’d taken my car in to the dealer for repairs and “you have to see what it looks like now!”

Papa casually got up from his chair and said, “Come on Mom, let’s go see her new car.” Guess I wasn’t hiding the excitement well.

For the first year I had the car, my grandfather was the only person who wasn’t me who’d sat in the driver’s seat! When we went into town to buy some groceries for dinner, they had smiling plush fruits on a display and he grabbed the cherry one. He told me that it would match my “candy-assed red car.” That stuffed cherry still lives in my 16-year old muscle car today!

After Papa died, Grandma took over hosting Thanksgiving Dinner there. Mom and I would go up a day or two earlier and the three of us would prepare the meal. I usually finagled a couple extra comp days or vacation days to make it a week so Grandma and I got some extra “just us” time, which usually included a drive into West Branch for Chinese lunch and a stop for cappuccinos at the coffee shop across the parking lot from the Chinese restaurant.

We have taken home a few mementos and a couple of useful things from the house. Dave‘s stepson is a huge WW2 buff and he’s making a framed shadow box with some of Papa’s Navy memorabilia. I brought home all of the old photos. There are a ton of them! Now I have the scan and document project that will probably keep me busy for a few years!

Yesterday, I found the last very special piece that I was afraid had been lost! Grandma collected coins and she got me started. The pennies, American and Canadian, are my very favorites, especially the old ones, but I enjoy all the old coins and we’d spend lots of time when I visited going through the many dishes of coins she had and finding the ones that were needed to fill the books. She had an Indian head penny book. I really drooled over those! There was of which she had doubles and she gave it to me. She told me, “One day, the rest of them will be yours.” She left the whole coin collection to me, but at that time, she was talking about the Indian head pennies I loved so much.

I was stressing because the Indian head book was missing. We found it at my Dads house, where some of the more valuable things had been moved. David laughed at me because the Indian head penny book only has seven pennies in it. “All that anxiety over 7 cents?” Aside from the fact that an Indian head penny is worth more than a cent now, everyone knew it was so much more than the pennies that was the source of my anxiety. Those were very special pennies, they were Grandma and me pennies.

And now, it’s done. The next time I’ll go up there, it will be to close the last account in Grandma’s bank after the closing on the house. I won’t have anyplace to go when I’m there. It’s very bittersweet.

I was born into a world where I had four grandparents of whom I have fond memories. I was also very close to my great-grandmother. As children there was always that safe place where Dave and I were loved unconditionally and spoiled like a prince and princess. Even as adults we enjoyed those visits where we did no wrong. Noni always told me I had the face of an angel and insisted that I didn’t need to diet because I wasn’t really overweight! Mums, our great grandmother, loved Dave’s long hair in the 80’s and bragged about how handsome her great grandson was to her friends. Grandma and Papa knew and enjoyed our friends and always encouraged us to bring all of them with us when we visited. Now, at 42 and 43 years old, the last house where there are enough photos of us through the years to call it a “Dave and Nani museum” is empty. The last photo we packed yesterday was of Dave and me with Santa, dated 1972.

It’s sad to say goodbye to those wonderful people, grandparents, who loved so much and were always wonderful rocks on which we built our self-esteem. I mean think about it. Through our grandparents, we all get to watch our personal museums grow! When I visit the home my Dad and Aunt share, there are photos through the years of the seven grandkids they have between them. Not so many photos of the kids unless they are in one with their kids! But I don’t mind that there really aren’t pictures of Dave and me at my Dad’s house but photos of Rina and Tori instead. After all, Grandma and Papa, Noni and Nono and Mums did the work of reminding Dave and me how awesome we have always been. It really is Dad’s job to do that for the girls. Fortunately, that’s a job a grandparent always finds easy to do.

To all of the grandparents reading, thank you for the important job you do in shaping the psyche of the next generation and for all you do to keep us always loved and safe!

1 comment:

Edna B said...

What a great story. It makes me a bit melancholy because I did not grow up with grandparents and lots of family. My only grandparent died when I was very small. I vaguely remember him. So this is why I love your stories so much. Yours is such a warm and loving family, which of course makes for such wonderful stories for trips down memory lane. Have a great night now. Hugs, Edna B.