The Duties of Mourning, September 2000
When Nana had come back out to California in the spring of 2000, it was supposed to be just a visit. She had planned on returning to Tampa. She left most of her stuff there. Her nephew Larry owned a shipping company, so he went back to Tampa, threw all of her stuff into a crate and shipped it to MY house. And there it sat, for weeks. I just couldn't get myself to go through it. Finally, one day my mom came over and we opened the crate.
We made 3 piles: go in the garbage, go to charity and keep. At first it was pretty easy, we just went through and started doing a quick sort. Most of her clothes went to charity, most of her toiletries/medications went into the garbage. You know how your mom always told you to wear clean underwear when you leave the house in case you get into an accident? I am telling you now, clean up your shit in your house.....you might die and your family will have to go through it. I spent hours going through all of Nana's prayer cards, little notebooks with the beginning of a joke written down and the punchline written in bold (she was never good at remembering jokes). She had tons of Kleenex. She had about 3 dozen sets of Rosary Beads and about 20 little pamphlets on how to pray the Rosary. She owned 3 shoe boxes full of hankies, and 2 shoe boxes of scarves. She had every kind of angel lapel pin and heart shaped earring known to man. I found her thong underwear. She had Mardi Gras beads with little penises on them. She had over 15 decks of cards. She had a lipstick in the shape of a penis. She had 5 shoe boxes full of stationary and greeting cards. She had about eight lists with everyone's birthday, wedding anniversary, date of divorce, date of death....I think she was afraid of sending a dead person a birthday card or a divorced couple an anniversary card. I had sorted through almost everything when found a white box about 2 inches wide and 10 inches tall. Inside was another box and in that box, some sort of plastic mold. I couldn't tell what the mold was, because it was filled with over 15 sets of glow in the dark plastic Rosary beads.
Apparently, she was using this to make ice for her Catholic Daughter's Bridge Club!