Thursday, May 2, 2013

Packing ~ a gift my mother taught me

I learned everything about packing from my mom.  She was a master at packing up to move. 

I'm packing up our kitchen because we are remodeling.  I was laying out my packing paper and boxes when this memory of my mom and I at my dining table comes to me of the two of us packing up the dishes from years ago.  Goodness knows how many times we did this together.  My Love and I have moved from apartment to homes countless times and at every one it was my mom who was there ready and willing to work.  Looking back I'm not sure why she volunteered but she seemed to take it on as an important mission to make sure my treasured dishes and glassware would arrive safe and sound without a chip or broken piece in box.

She would stand in front of the table where the pile of brown packing lay stacked, would pick up dishes first, wrap them sometimes with a single paper or sometimes two, pass it to me to fill the box and keep repeating this.  We could have the whole kitchen done in several hours.  

Was her skilled earned from the many times she and my dad moved when they first married while he was in the Military?  Was it the years married to my stepfather Bill and the countless times we moved from rental house to rental house?  By the time Rock and she married she was a pro at whipping up packing for moving.  She never let a mover pack her dishes and crystal.  Never trust a moving company with the fine breakables.

Then my Love and I marry.  We moved to San Francisco and begin our lives.  We lived there a year and then moved into our first home that we bought.  We lived on the 4th floor in an old apartment building across from Golden Gate Park on Fulton with no elevators.  Three big bay windows where we threw down pillows and bedding items that wouldn't break versus going up and down the stairs.  My mom and I packed my new wedding china and crystal.  We packed my new everyday Dansk dishes.  Pots and pans, bowls, silverware and oh how did we fit so much into that little kitchen and breakfast area?  No rest breaks till we were done.  The final words from my parents after that move was not to move into any building that had no elevators if it was more than two floors.  We've lived in one level homes except for one that had three half stairs, with one level where the bedrooms were,  one level to the laundry and the kids play area and the main living area including the kitchen in the middle.

I'm wrapping my dishes alone.  I'm thinking how slow this is to do it alone.  I've barely made a dent in the hutch as I have a cold and I'm getting tired and hot.  I'm missing my mom and how she would have made hay out of this job.  I look at my wrapping and find my hands taking the plate, laying it cross wise on the paper, bring the corner up to cover the plate over the front, roll the plate and paper, add another plate and roll again then fold the paper around the plates.  Carefully I pick it up and carry it to the box.  I begin again.  

Boxes begin to start an orderly stack in my dining room where all will be stored till the unwrapping begins weeks from now.  She would have been there to unwrap as well.  A much slower process for if you unwrap too quickly you might easily drop a plate, cup or bowl.  Then was the deciding of where to place it all.  She was a help even for that.  We worked quite well this team work of ours.  Never an angry word or a difference of opinion when it came to placement.  I appreciated her wisdom of laying out a kitchen, or in this case my kitchen.  

She wasn't the greatest cook but she could create an efficient kitchen and she knew how to pack.

1 comment:

Birdie said...

Just this week I was saying that it isn't birthdays or Mother's say that make me miss my mom. It is the every day stuff, just like this.

Though it is not the same and never could be I have come to think of blogging women as my stand-in mother. So with that, I am sending you a hug and wish I could be there to at least give you a hand as you pack up.


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