Deciding what furniture to bring to Florida was a real challenge and I realized that many of the things that fit into my Connecticut home weren’t going to fit into my Florida home. I halfheartedly placed items for sale, but really had no bites. I wasn’t too concerned about things not selling because, truth be told, I was so darn conflicted about parting with them anyway. “What the heck?…..I’ll just take the stuff with me!” became my mantra.
But the day before my moving company was scheduled to arrive, anxiety had taken over and I was pacing around wondering about the space I would have for furniture in my new home. Suddenly, a memory flash came to me….I had the dimensions of my new home! Now where the heck did I put that paperwork?? After ripping through files long ignored, I found the schematic for my Florida house. With that and my measuring tape in hand, I began evaluating every piece of furniture I had – and that is when I found myself tearfully blubbering “it won’t fit…it won’t fit…..it won’t fit…..”. As all of you who are Baby Boomers know, we hold onto things that meant something to our parents. China dishes. Oriental rugs. Dining room sets. And yes, in my case, Mom’s dining room hutch, her side tables and her curio cabinets along with a couple of other things I was holding onto.
My Mom was an incredible woman. She came to this country as a war bride after WWII and things were tough financially for my parents for a long time. But she persisted and endured without complaining. One of the things I did hear her mention often though was how she would love to have a dining room and a formal dining set. Finally, in 1985, my parents bought their own house and in it, my Mom placed her brand-new French Provincial dining set. She was so thrilled and I loved seeing how happy it made her. Since her passing, I have had that dining set and I treasure it – more than anything because of the joy it had brought Mom, not because I am the Martha Stewart of the neighborhood. But now here it was, 2016, and I found myself sadly looking at her beautiful hutch because I knew that it …..just …..wouldn’t .…fit. “I’ll repurpose it!” I thought to myself. “I’ll cut the top off and put it into my new kitchen as a cabinet!” (obviously, I have OD’d on HGTV’s Flea Market Flip). The “how” of that idea didn’t really come into the picture – it just sounded like a great solution (or more appropriately – a great pacifier for my emotions). But then I did more measuring and realized that it still wouldn’t fit. “Well, I will figure out something and just keep it in the garage until I do”. The fact that I couldn’t even budge it, never mind move it once it was placed in the Florida garage was only a minor detail. And then reality hit. It just wasn’t going to fit and it was silly to pay movers to bring it all the way down to Florida to become an immovable garage fixture with “stuff” in it. Plus, if truth be told, I loved it more than anything simply because Mom loved it and every time I looked at it, I saw Mom’s smiling face.
As the Baby Boomers downsize, we are finding that the Millennials aren’t moved by the history of our items. They don’t even like some of our things. Your grandmother’s exquisite living room set is now being replaced by an assemble-at-home something or the other from IKEA. The younger generation places more value on experiences and quality of life rather than quality of furniture. I suppose they just might have a point. But this has created a glut of once-beloved, beautiful furniture on the market and we Boomers are struggling with the reality that our treasures just aren’t worth that much. It isn’t that I wanted so much money for my Mom’s hutch – I just felt so…..well……disloyal to consider low prices. My parents had worked hard and struggled for years and they finally had a few special things. But I found myself with no one to sell the hutch to for a decent price. It just hurt. I sat staring at it for a long time and finally came to a few conclusions. First, Mom doesn’t care about that hutch anymore. She is in a place now where peace, happiness and contentment surround her without things. And second, more than anything, Mom’s wish for me was to be happy. She isn’t looking down at me from Heaven with a scowl on her face because I’m leaving her hutch behind. She is looking forward to me finding new joys in Florida. I know that is what is most important to my Mom and to my Dad too.
I hardly watched the guy who took away Mom’s hutch. Basically, I pointed him to it and turned my back. He had paid me a pittance that I won’t even mention here. But I console myself with the thought of some new person spotting it in the guy’s store. Slowly a widening smile grows across his or her face with the realization that they can afford that lovely piece of furniture. Someone who is just as thrilled as my Mom was to have it in 1985. Someone I could not find on Craig’s List or Facebook yard sales, but someone who was out there nonetheless. Best wishes to you new owner! Use it in good health! My Mom and I are thrilled that it makes you happy!