For the next six to eight weeks, Mondays will be spent in Arkansas. I am helping Greg get his dad’s house ready to go on the market, to be sold. We’ve spent random days there, sorting items and hauling out the stuff that accumulates over a lifetime. This is now a very focused and intentional plan to complete the necessary tasks and have my realtor friend in Arkansas list the property.
It’s been interesting, opening up drawers and clearing out closets and cupboards. So many memories hidden within. So many times Greg and I have laughed or teared up. For Greg especially, these items we are bringing into the light again represent his past, and his parents’ lives, captured in old photos or a favorite watch or a worn billfold.
Greg’s mother, Leta, had Alzheimer’s the last nine years of her life. I’ve found treasures that she apparently tucked away and then forgot about. They are reminders of her illness, yes, but more so, finding these forgotten purchases and half completed craft projects remind me of her love for her family and her creativity.
I love the cloth balls I found recently in the bottom drawer of an armoire. I don’t know if she bought them or made them, these simple balls created from strips of colorful fabric. They are homey. And perfect nestled in a white footed bowl in my vintage wooden sieve after the paperwhites finished blooming.
Today I worked methodically through kitchen cabinets, throwing away plastic containers and paper goods, and sorting through a large variety of knick knacks, kitchen gadgets and keepsakes. High in an upper cupboard, I found stacks of delicate cups and saucers. Leta, who enjoyed hot tea as I do, collected tea cup sets.
I had fun looking at each cup and finding the matching saucers. I discovered a small cup that looks like it’s made from polished alabaster. Within the cup was a scrap of paper with Leta’s distinctive handwriting on it, identifying the cup as being from Cairo, Egypt, a gift from Aunt Pearl. I was delighted! Greg’s great-aunt Pearl was one of my favorite people. This bright and adventurous woman was traveling the world well into her 80’s.
I picked up a pretty bone china cup. It was so delicately made that the light shown through it when I held the tea cup up to the light. I peered within and found another scrap of paper, folded up and yellowed with age. Unfolding the paper, I was amazed at what Greg’s mom had written:
A gift to Bob’s grandparents/Kygar, on their 20th wedding anniversary.
I felt a little shaky! This cup was given to a couple who married in 1888. Their 20th wedding anniversary would have been in 1918…98 years ago. The saucer must have been broken long ago and there is a very fine crack noticeable in the bottom of the cup. But for the cup to have survived this long, through countless moves, and the hands of children and grandchildren, is astounding.
Anna and Daniel Kygar, on the left, are pictured above with Ruby (Kygar) and Bill Moore on their wedding day. The other couple is Bill’s parents, T.O. and Lillian Moore. Anna and Daniel celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary the next year.
I carefully returned the cup to the shelf. I am thrilled to have found this treasure, and I want to continue to preserve this keepsake for my children and grandchildren. The world won’t shatter, if the tea cup does, but I don’t want that happening on my watch. I’m thinking about how best to display the cup, with its tiny scrap of information.
I’m grateful to Leta Moore. As her Alzheimer’s progressed, she often wrote little notes to herself, so that she would remember. And when all memory was gone, she trusted that others would find her notes, and becoming the keeper of the information, continue on the story. Well done, Mom Moore. I found your hidden treasures and your words. I’ll pass on the items, and the stories .