Well, here we are, selling off my mother's belongings.
In January, my mother moved in with one of my sisters. At the age of 85, she had reached a stage in which she should not be living alone, and although the move was not managed against her will, she was in no way happy about it. We've wondered if she was secretly relieved, and that may be, but that relief didn't stop her grumbling about having to give up her independence and her things. Who can blame her, really? To my own children—be warned. If I live to be 85 and am alone and need to live with one of you, you will hear plenty about how I enjoy my independence and don't appreciate your going through my things and either throwing them out or selling them off.
Back in January, my family helped my mother (when we weren't working behind her back) to sort through her many belongings and to get her moved in to her new digs, and we set aside a pile of stuff to sell at a yard sale at a later date. This weekend is the date for the sale, and we are all assembling in Georgia to help out. It's going to be a lot of work, but I also envision all of us sitting in the driveway, perched in our folding chairs with some sweet tea and Chick-fil-a and laughing until the neighbors complain.
We also may find time to explore our family's roots. The last few generations are originally from Alabama, but my mother's father was from Georgia just a few miles from where my sister and mother live now. Hosea Maner, born in 1800, was our great-great-great-great-grandfather. He was born in South Carolina but lived and died in Smyrna, Georgia, and his grave stone is still visible today—we may visit it (photo later).
Hosea was a land owner and farmer in Cobb County, and although he died without a will, he left behind valuable property. The executor of his estate wrote this:
"To the Hon. H. M. Hammett, Ordinary of said county: The petition of J. Z. Foster, administrator, of the estate of Hosea Maner, late of said county, deceased, shows that certain personal property belonging to said deceased, is of a perishable nature, and is likely to deteriorate in value, the same consisting of Corn and Hogs, and that it is to the interest and advantage of said estate that said property be sold."
After the corn and hogs and his 190 or so acres of land were sold, his estate amounted to $4,226.35 ($101,000 in today's value), and the money was divvied up among 35 heirs. Joseph was one of Hosea's sons, and Joseph's son William was the father of Henry who was the father of Guiles who was the father of our mother.
What goes around comes around, they say, and we're basically back where we started, or at least back as far as we can document. Cheers to old Hosea, and cheers to my mother for allowing us to rifle through her stuff and price it with stickers and let strangers handle it like it's nothing. Maybe our laughter, which used to annoy her to no end, will help make it all a little easier. Or maybe she'll screech what she used to screech at us—"If you girls don't stop all that noise, I'll skin you alive! I'd rather hear crying than laughing hour after hour!"