Wednesday, July 25, 2007

on the art of packing

So we are in the throes of packing up our house, as we are moving to Israel in less than six weeks. It is all quite an experience, but the packing itself has brought much to mind. First of all, if I had the energy, I think I would "pack" up the house once a year (I know some of you might call that cleaning for Pesach, but the goal of my Pesach cleaning was always to make sure there is no chametz, not to PURGE the house, which is what packing is--but I digress). It is very cathartic to get rid of all this STUFF, much of it really and truly junk. I'm talking 15 industrial-sized garbage bags of junk, and we're not even halfway through. And then there is the stuff that goes into the sell pile, because it's still somewhat good, usable, and well, one person's trash is another persons treasure, no? But all that STUFF! I stopped counting bentchers at 150--there were probably 300 altogether. Perfectly good bentchers from 25 years worth of weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, sheva brachot, shul dinners. I hate to be a party pooper, but maybe its time we all just stopped printing them. Why not have generic ones that are used in every catering hall? I mean, really I order my kids not to bring them home from the bat mitzvahs they attend! Nobody wants our bentchers--the rabbi told us to put it with the "shemot"! So I packed about 50 (25 extra from L's bat mitvah) and the rest are gone. I felt bad. Some of my friends have been married 25 years, and I gave away their bentchers....

The other thing is the pictures. Until I recently got my digital camera, Sarge on central avenue would always convince me that I need to get an extra set developed, because it was free. Thank G-d I always put the original photos in albums, but yesterday I was left with about 5000 pictures of doubles. I've always been a bit queasy about throwing out pictures. I mean these are people and memories that I cherish.....but still there were boxes and boxes of the stuff--I just couldn't see dragging them to Israel--to put where? and for what purpose? Isaac decided that he felt better shredding the pictures, rather than just dumping them in the trash. (He just loves that shredder.) He sat at the shredder for hours and ended up with a huge post Tisha B'av migraine. Once I decided the pictures were going, I didn't feel that we needed to actually destroy them--I was fine leaving that to the garbage disposal people. But you pick your battles, and if shredding makes him happy so be it.

But back to the packing. The other day, my friend R came with her husband to pick up a buffet she wanted. She was happy to get the buffet and I was happy to give it to her. Really, truly. But I feel so.....sad watching them shlep that piece of furniture out of my house--like my house is coming apart. We've lived here for 12 years. So much has been experienced here. Mostly joy, but certainly we've had challenges. So many friendships have developed over my dining room table, while on the phone doing housework, sitting out front on the stoop. I remember when we moved from Brooklyn I was so excited about buying the house, but on the day of the move I cried and cried. And I was lonely when I first got here. I missed Brooklyn. And I will miss Cedarhurst. But I never wanted to go back to Brooklyn....When I pack I can't avoid thinking, "I'm leaving". I don't intend to come back. And it's just so....bittersweet.

No comments: