Moving Cookie’s Parents

In which Camille helps her brothers move their mother’s stuff from her apartment into her new home – September 17-23




Brother Michael goes through mail on the card table that has served as his parent’s dining room table for ten years, while brother John sorts through the kitchen, both doing their best to distinguish rubble from sentimental. Although Mom and Dad are moving to a larger place, we kids saw an opportunity to preemptively de-clutter their future, so we were extra mindful about what to toss and what to pack. Camille flew up to Pennsylvania to help.

Obviously, this process isn’t physically taxing, but the emotional impact is significant. We take this opportunity to caution our adult readers with children to keep their household detritus to a minimum. In addition to drafting a will, advanced directives, and assigning power of attorney, parents owe it to their children to manage their belongings. None of know when we’ll be too infirm to reduce our stuff to a manageable volume. Best to do it now. Camille returned home and began packing boxes of unnecessary stuff and carting it off so that Emily, Amy, and Molly will not have to deal with an avalanche of sediment in our wake.




John, Darla, and her sister Sherry (not pictured) spent a couple of after-work evenings boxing the keepers with Michael and Camille. On the other end we stacked like with like, seven boxes of audio cassettes and movies on VCR and DVD, one large box of photographs, nine boxes of books, and six boxes of papers from Mom’s desk.




Bob rented Camille a car to give her extra mobility and Avis pointed her to a lemon yellow Jeep Renegade with a flat bed and lift gate perfect for shuttling boxes. Michael, John, and Camille marveled at the perfectly smooth carapace on a mystery bug which John later diagnosed as a diving beetle.

John and Darla put Camille in an upstairs bedroom under an open window where she was lulled to sleep by the sounds of the night. Darla and Sherry took Camille swimming one evening, Michael took her to lunch, Sherry for walks, and she and Michael enjoyed an evening with their mutual friend Donna.




Donna had been writing to Camille about the new addition to her neighborhood, a beautiful dark bay stallion named Cash. So first thing, we walked over to his paddock and were greeted by a large horse with a big personality.




Cash was quite interested in Michael’s tunes, and in the carrots and peach slices Donna brought.

It was a nice visit with our friend, Donna and that handsome and personable equine. Not all horses are this interested in humans, and at one point, Cash crested his elegant neck, and took off proudly across the paddock, barely skimming the earth, with hooves flying and head nodding in the breed’s signature running walk.




On Saturday, nephew Brandon and brothers James and Bob arrived early to finish hauling off the contents of Mom’s apartment at Episcopal Square. When the men carried off the couch, this small pile of fallout was revealed, a thumbnail of what the entire apartment had looked like five days earlier.




An incredible team, the Magnificent Seven spent their entire Saturday sorting, packing, moving, and unpacking. Bob, Brandon, James, John, and Jim. Jim rented a U-Haul, Darla stayed behind and cleaned for at least eight hours, and Camille unpacked and did laundry on the other end.


Bob breaks down a box to send over to Michael’s friend Dave who is also moving soon. Brandon replaced the hardware on the front door after all the furniture was in.


Michael mowed the lawn and fetched a housewarming gift from Dave, a fine wood dining room table with four chairs, two leaves, and enough room between its legs for Mom’s wheelchair.

Michael has given up his Colorado job and moved across country to live with his parents and attend to their health needs. At 92, Dad is fairly independent, but Mom has been in a nursing home since February and needs significant care. No one else has the health care background Michael does, and Mom is thrilled he is springing her from Shippensburg Health Care Center. The red tape has been unimaginable, not only to get an approved transition plan and safe discharge for Mom, but to walk Dad through the process of buying the 2,000 square foot trailer which brother Jim discovered a few months back.



Jim took this picture of the new living room with not one piece of paper on the couch (and nothing underneath, either!).

Jim’s photo of the entertainment center, Mom’s desk, the TV chairs, and new dining room set. Camille posted a cynical and sappy essay about the big day and the previous week here: Under the Sweet Gums



It’s not every day Mom gets to see five of her six children at one time, so we took a break and went a visiting.




It was such a fine day, we wheeled Mom to the picnic tables underneath the maple and the sweet gums behind the nursing home.

Mom couldn’t get enough of the photos Jim took of her soon-to-be home. But before she could move, Michael would have to jump through some more hoops, while getting himself and Dad moved in and accustomed to a their new routine.



Jim stuck around after brother Bob and Camille left for home, and helped ease Dad into his new spot at the table in his new home. It’s a lot of change for an old guy to take in, but he was able, after a few missteps, to settle down and have a bowl of soup.


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