by Neva Bodin
Well, it’s over. It felt sometimes like a funeral, sometimes like getting ready for a wedding, and sometimes like the estate auction it was.
My husband and I have lived in our camper on the farmstead where I grew up for 4 weeks. A close friend drove 500 of our 630 miles from our home to join us for 9 days, my sweet brother-in-law joined us the day after we arrived for a week, went home to work and returned again from 180 miles away, both daughters, grandchildren and one daughter’s man drove over 600 miles to join us, the daughter with kids having to make two trips back and forth, two sisters-in-law driving 190 miles came for a few days—one twice, a cousin, a dear friend and her very dear son and daughter-in-law helped set up, renters and friends helped carry “stuff” and another girl friend from three states away came. Other cousins texted or called almost daily to encourage. We are as blessed as we can be by these wonderful loved ones. We couldn’t have done it without them.
I am the last of my immediate family. But I have all these wonderful people, related and not related who certainly are family. Including the people who came to the auction and gave me a hug to show they cared. But the tears were just under the surface all day.
It seemed a memorial service of sorts for 70 years of my family and our possessions, and of someone living in this house we are now camped beside.
Built when I was 2 years old, I remember my first night in this house now empty. “I want to go home,” I wailed. “This is Pete’s house.” Pete Moe was our carpenter who built the two story home with a full basement. After Dad died in 1981, Mom completed his plan to add an addition to the north side.
The kitchen which now seems small, the two bedrooms, bathroom and living room downstairs must have seemed a mansion to my mother. She moved out of a two room house that sheltered where all five of us lived—with a cook stove, pot-bellied wood stove, table, chairs two beds (one a roll-a-way) and my crib, where she had lived almost 20 years of her marriage. A small wind charger that sat on top the house eventually provided electricity. Our family bonded for sure. The barn was bigger, as that is where the business took place.
Going through and choosing things for the auction, sorting through memories along with items, and throwing things I might be attached to but know are of no use anymore, tugged at my heart and wove sorrow and joy through my mind. It was overwhelming.
But I remind myself, we can’t take it with us, and what’s really important came to us—all the helpers for this huge project.
We lived and farmed on this farm 12 years of our marriage, just 19 years ago. So we have many friends and neighbors in this area. Two families have had us over for supper or brought supper to us twice each. I met old acquaintances at the local café and a Father’s Day buffet.
Memories are blessings, even though they sometimes bring sorrow. And currently my life is full of both.
So sorry I missed my last blog date, but as I only have internet if I drive somewhere, it didn’t happen. We are exhausted, but the next day I woke again at 3 AM to pack what I’m bringing home. Our daughters have left already, pulling covered trailers full of genealogy and a few other treasures I kept. Now I have years of financial and farm records to review. We were keepers.
An era of “never throw anything away” is ending—loyalty to “stuff” that carried over in loyalty to family and friends. However, for me and my family, while I got rid of lots of stuff, loyalty to family and friends remains. And I know they are loyal to us. The proof is in the pudding.