My children and I have enjoyed Lucille, the neighbor across the street from our Grammy's house since 1994. She recently passed away at a very old age and lived a wonderfully happy and prosperous life. She used to bake cookies and fudge every Christmas and bring it over for us all to enjoy. Among other talents, Lucille was a seamstress and made many costumes and outfits for my children and herself. For years we would enjoy watching her leave on Saturday nights to attend the Eastern Star dances, even then well into her eighties. She would proudly sashay down the stairs leading from her light pink house and step into her light pink Cadillac (no, she never sold Mary Kay, that is a different pink). The swish and swirl of her petticoats under her knee length frilly gown could be heard literally, from across the street. She was a petite blue eyed beauty. We have been able to mourn our dear Lucille. We know that she has passed on, and that her husband, Arthur, who preceded her in death was there with open arms to welcome her into happy heaven place.
Herein lies my personal dilemma. I have been prompted by Lucille's Granddaughter and my family to "go through" her things before, during and after the estate sale for things I would like to have. It seems so forward and just plain wrong. But, I also understand, it has to be done. When we pass away, we don't get to pack our bags, then go. We leave our stuff behind for others to manage. I got that, and it has been said to me so many times this week. I feel so guilty perusing her belongings and saying things like, "Oh, this is lovely, I would love to have this", and "That is some good stemware, do you mind if I take the whole set?" I am having a house party this Saturday and I need wine glasses. Lucille, being the belle of the ball that she was, had every type of serving set and stemware you could imagine.
Anyone who knew Lucille knows she would giggle herself pink if she knew I was carrying on the party throwing tradition with her stemware in the lead. That is what she would have wanted. Her Granddaughter has made many trips to drive to the home to get Lucille's affairs in order. Having the garage sale this weekend was one of those. I got greedy and took for myself every piece of china that had Lucille's name on it and I knew she painted herself. I didn't want anyone who didn't know her to have something she had spent her time creating. How could they appreciate these things like my children can? It didn't help that my children's father and my ex-husband, walked up during my peeking through the things and said, "Stop looking like a homeless bum, don't you have enough stuff already?" Funny man, especially when he is actually moving into the house with our children next week.
Here is how the story ends. I took about five boxes worth of fine dining and chinaware. Expensive and classy stuff, as well as many handmade and handpainted pieces. I spent hours cleaning it all and rearranging my china hutch to proudly display the delicate handpainted china plates and cups of Lucille Mays. I will serve my guests and make a toast to a beautiful woman who I hope I am just like when I grow up.
Rest in peace Ms. Lucille.Sorry I went through your stuff when you weren't there.