My sister-in-law asked me to go through my brother’s desk on my next visit to their house. Yesterday was the visit and in the afternoon before dinner I looked through various savings, collectibles and such. Some of the request dealt with practical things–Lynn had an amount of coins. Did they have any value?
Like my mom, Lynn tended to save a lot of things. Most of what I saw had sentimental value: old photographs, a few stamps (he was a more serious collector of those than coins) and various mementos. Nearly everything I found had value (to him), but probably very little actual worth. As for the coins, she could take them to a dealer and get a bit of something for about a dozen steel cents from 1943. There were rolls of quarters from the bank for each of the fifty states, for each of the mints “P” and “D.” Several hundred dollars in face value, but probably little more.
My emotional reaction to it all was palpable. I can imagine his wife feeling ten times that and more. The young miss was offered a few years’ of National Geographics. My wife was offered one set of cufflinks. I was offered three dress shirts, but for some reason, my mind wandered at the end of our visit. I didn’t take them with me, tough they were hanging up on the outside of the bedroom closet upstairs. It seems strange to be considering wearing his clothing, looking through his stuff, carrying things out to the car, like they were just garage sale acquisitions. Considering reason, there’s nothing wrong with any of it–my sister just offering to clear out her closet and a desk of things she won’t use. It would be a small mercy to take things off her hands. Why was I having such difficulty with it?
The older I get, the stronger my own urge gets to divest myself of things. Is it just getting old? Is it that my life has reached an arc of acquisition and it’s time to begin the long road toward my own death? By the time I’m ready to die, maybe I will be left with nothing. Maybe today is the start of the preparation for that. What book can I give away? What item can I sell? To what poor will I give it?