Our new motto as we downsize our lives for the migration to Belize: “Consolidate, compress, distribute, discard.”
My son Ryan bought the leather couches in the TV room. Rose’s many friends and clients are claiming various pieces of furniture. Everything in the living room should be gone next week, except for the baby grand piano. Once that goes, we’ll move Rose’s Pilates studio to the living room and set about turning the master bedroom back into, well, a bedroom.
The smallest two of our four Glashoff sculptures were quickly sold. “Ugly Bird” will take longer. It is big and heavy and priced at $2,000 even though it is worth more than twice as much.
Today I sold Rose’s beloved Mercedes sports car. It is a 1996 SL500 and it is her pride and joy. I expect some melancholy moments come tomorrow when we drop it off with its new owners.
We’re thinking of having an invitation-only open house in December to clear out much of the rest.
Mr. Fix-it does it again
Our bed needs a little work. The other day I was repairing a foam “memory pad” that had split down the middle. Naturally I was using duct tape. As I cut off one strip my hand slipped and the blade of my box cutters cut right through the air-bed mattress. Suddenly half the bed was a pancake. My half. Fortunately.
Naturally I tried to repair it with duct tape. It still leaks. Come the morning light, I’m sleeping on the bones of the bed.
So I am now entering a more advanced stage of home repairs: superglue. I just have to figure out the right kind of patch to slap on the rip in the mattress, lather it up with Gorilla Glue, then slap it down. Naturally I will cover the entire patch with duct tape.
Such an elegant solution!
Stuff has got to go
Among the more exotic things I am about to post to Craigslist include a Waterbury Westminster Chime Mantel Clock, two Gambian koras and my unique collection of stationary stolen from some of the finest hotels.
Hey some people steal soap from their hotel rooms, I took stationary. OK, I plead younger and stupider.
I always intended to write letters as I was flying back home. So now I have old note paper from the Plaza in New York, Bel Age in West Hollywood, Caesar’s in Las Vegas, The Piccadilly in London and a whole lot more.
The problem today is, you say “stationary” and most people think you are talking about a piece of equipment at the gym.
Meanwhile, I spent a whole evening researching the clock, built circa 1918 and learned a lot about the Connecticut clock manufacturer. Likewise, the koras which look like drums with lute strings.
Today I was wiping down the koras and vacuuming the inside of the bodies. (Lot of dust gathered as they sat on an perch in the Pilates studio.) Inside the one custom built for Rose when she lived in Gambia was a sheet of paper titled “Letter of introduction for Jali Nyama Suso.”
What a find.
Nyama Suso is the man who crafted the two koras. (“Jali” means musician in his Mandinkan tongue.) Suso crafted a song that was voted Gambia’s first national anthem. He is the first kora player to become a musician in residence in the U.S. – at the University of Washington. He guided Alex Haley on his first research trip to Gambia, before he wrote “Roots.”
Suddenly with so much history in my hands, the thought of selling these beautiful instruments causes me pain.
Speaking of history for sale, my copy of Action Comics No. 20 is up on Craigslist and I have at least two people interested in buying it, one at my asking price of $500. He also wants to know if I have any more comics. No, unless you count a bunch of National Lampoon special publications.
I think the comic from January 1940, with an “S-less” Superman on the cover, in excellent condition is worth at least five figures but regrettably this one is missing the last inside page. Hey, that’s the way I found it in a garbage can back in the 1970’s. Oh, how I wish I’d dipped deeper into that pile of rubbish for other comics ….
Unpleasant surprises come in old boxes
Last week I dug through my first two boxes of old writings and communications. I’d saved just about every letter and message that old girlfriends sent to me. That was a mistake. There was a clear pattern and it didn’t favor me. Apparently, according to the letters, women found me intelligent, charming, desirable – at the start of a relationship.
Then something usually happened. Or didn’t happen.
I won’t go into the long lists of failings that I’d apparently accumulated over the usually brief term of the relationships but … my god, reading all these old letters, I started to hate me, too. What a schmuck.
I hope I’ve learned something about being a decent human being over the years. For Rose’s and my sake because if we’re out there living in the rainforest with nothing but monkeys and iguanas for company, I fear that I will start looking like a really really bad deal.
I lingered over these letters for a while, thinking about those times more than reading the words. For better or worse, I am grateful for every relationship I was a part of and am filled with regret for the times when I could not measure up.
The letters are gone now. As distant and ephemeral as the relationships they once conveyed. It is history and now that it has been relearned it shall not be repeated.
Maybe that is a step toward being a better person. Maybe that is the point of divesting yourself of your possessions.
- “Yundum Nko” by Jali Nyama Suso (bdowlingf13.wordpress.com)
- West Africa Comes to Hofstra (anyaliokumovich.wordpress.com)