Where I write

Where I write

September 16, 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow?

My friend Goldie lived in this house for more than 45 years with her husband, Tony, on Umatilla Street in Denver. They lived with his parents for half of those years, and Tony's mother didn't like Goldie. That's another story for another day, but talk about marrying someone for better or worse.

A  few years after Tony died, she sold the house and moved to Texas to be close to her brother only to realize she wanted to live the rest of her life in Denver. So she packed up and moved back to Colorado. By then her house was owned by a young couple with a golden retriever. We even met them.

Each time I visited Goldie in Denver, and I mean each time, we would drive by her former house on Umatilla Street. As I said, we even met the new owners. We would stroll by the house reminiscing, and once we took a photo of Goldie in front of her beloved home. Always Goldie would say what a big mistake she had made letting go of the house. She wished she had never sold the brick bungalow with the wood floors, high ceilings, located in a neighborhood she loved. There was a lifetime of memories for Goldie behind that front door, even if it wasn't her front door anymore.

When I was back in Colorado visiting Goldie this summer, of course we drove by the house again. Lo and behold the house was gone. Poof! The entire house had been torn down and something new was being constructed in its place. The land was there, but no brick bungalow. Goldie and I just stood and stared. I was so surprised and bummed, I forgot to take a photo.
 In the movie Frozen (okay it's a kids movie but it was fun) one of the songs is about letting go. The message in the song is more about being true to oneself, but I think it can be applied to holding on to stuff, or old ideas, or anything that keeps us from moving forward. Proceeding as my friend Sandy says.

 Yet letting go is easier sung than done.  That song came to mind when I found this slip of paper stuck to the  bottom of a table I purchased at a thrift store last week. Apparently, the table was once the property of William and Alice. I felt as if I was stealing when I removed the tag though there's a good chance William and Alice are dead. Or not. Either way somebody said this table has got to go. Even if we slap a "property of" tag on something we possess, eventually it won't belong to us. I don't think heaven has storage units. Maybe hell, but everything would just burn up, anyway.
The city where William and Alice lived is known as a retirement community here in Arizona. Maybe their kids donated the table. Do you wonder if your kids are going to cherish, and keep, all your possessions as much as you have? Or maybe your stuff will end up at an estate sale or thrift store. Alice and William could have been downsizing. Doesn't matter. For now this solid wood, tiled table is mine all mine. Ten dollars. Score! Actually, I'm hoping heaven is just one big thrift store with sparkly shoes that fit my big feet  and look new.

There's a little bit of hoarder in all of us, even if look with pity, or even contempt  at the hoarders on reality television. We all have stuff we like to keep.  We might not keep furniture, but we might old photos. We might not stay in the same house, but we might cling to an old dream.

So now I don't really need, or have room for this other table. But still I hesitated to let it go. When I was young, and seemed always to be moving, I lived that let it go song all the time.  Now even the thought of moving exhausts me. I grow fond of stuff so easily. Recently, I was challenged to ask myself three times a day this question. What am I holding on to? At first I thought I wouldn't be holding on to much each day, but surprise surprise. So now it's my turn to let go of a table.

Below is the messiest thing in my house. Well, I have some drawers that would make people cringe, but oh well. I let go of trying to be perfect a long time ago, as my friends will attest.
This is the image board for my novel. My goal was to not take down this assortment of collected images, which symbolize characters, settings or ideas in my novel, until I was finished with the darn book. It's hard to let go of that goal, or dream some may say, but I'm renovating my office. Time for me to belt out that song about letting go. Doesn't mean I'll quit the novel, but it's time to let go of all this stuff hanging up on my wall, to get it out of the way for the workers to work on making my office look beautiful. I won't die if it is gone, in fact I might even feel lighter.

So after Goldie and I stared at her house that day, we got back into the car and drove away. I worried Goldie would be sad, maybe even cry. But not a tear. We ate lunch at the Country Buffet and gossiped and giggled  as we always do. Then we returned to her apartment which is just so sweet and shiny, safe and new. She picked some squash she had grown in the community garden and showed me her tomatoes and lettuce, too.

Without having to say so, I knew Goldie had finally let the house go. If we can release the old to let in the new, who knows how our gardens will flourish and grow.


Rita A. said...

What a great story. I think we want to hang on to the houses because of the memories. She still has her memories.

As for your board - get a cheap spiral notebook, or old photo album at the thrift store and put all that stuff in it. The you can go through it when you sit down to write and maybe seeing it in a new place will inspire you all over again!

SunsetCindi said...

So happy that Goldie has the wisdom to know when to let go. That's a wisdom we all need more of and one that I'm working on each day. Thanks for the reminder!