I’m sitting in a cluttered study at 3:34 a.m. of August 1, 2012. Have been working odd hours day and night and sleeping in between as I prepare spaces for the arrival of various items from my mother-in-law’s (Jean Turnbull Elford) estate. You may remember her humorous piece in #Grandmothers’ Necklace. (“No Exceptions”) Never asked her, but suspect it really happened to her.
The family had a big celebration for Jean’s 100th birthday on a very hot Sarnia Day in September, 2011. It was held in her home, where she still was living. As usual, Jean had all her wits about her, and despite the extreme heat, obviously enjoyed the large crowd of family, neighbours, friends and honoured guests who came and went, greeted and congratulated, ate and drank and entertained.
In January 2012, during a stay in hospital, Jean died. She was ready; she wondered aloud why it was taking so long. We’re glad for her, but we certainly miss her. In addition to her professional writing, she was a family letter writer without parallel. Each one contained tongue-in-cheek humour and was geared to the age and interests of the recipient—Treasures to keep. Am also hoping to create a book of the writing she had published for children. Her tear-sheets and contributor’s copies are stored upstairs.
Now, after things were gradually sorted out, my late father-in-law’s Steinway grand piano is to arrive here by the end of the week, along with a few other treasured items. The piano has been coddled for many years. Its new environment will be a bit of a shock. Wait! Don’t we already have a 100-year-old Nordheimer grand piano? How many grand pianos does a family need?
A great deal of prayer went into plans. Our own grand is to be adopted by a local Presbyterian church, where a talented pianist will use it well. Later this week— as we are both reassured and threatened by the movers— our house will be invaded, a huge dresser, handcrafted by Jean’s ancestor, will be sweated up and around and up our stairs, to sit in what I call Grandmothers’ Room, where the remaining copies of Grandmothers’ Necklace and all materials related to it and Petawawa Grannies’ events are already saved. (+ Jean’s materials…she was a proud great-grandmother, after all.)
The newer piano and some boxes and a few smaller furniture items will be carted in. The old piano will be transported to the church. The piano tuner said he can fit in caring for our new addition on August 13th. Then, for as long as his emphysema allows, my husband can then enjoy playing his father’s piano, the one which Robert played as a young music student, and later, taking favourite music with him, played every time we visited Sarnia. Gradually, we will assign the new items to locations, but I must also get back to some Grandmothers’ Necklace bookkeeping work and promotion, to editing a client’s book manuscript and, to my own writing projects.
|Anatole warms up the piano|
Back to Grandmothers’ Necklace. It is still selling. The important thing is that people are exposed to it. Then, it usually sells itself. Unfortunately, two independent bookstores which carried Grandmothers’ Necklace are closing or changing owners, one in Ottawa and one in North Bay. They have been stores of good quality, with warm and enthusiastic long-term owners. Please Support your local independent bookstore!!
GN will be featured at various Petawawa Grannies’ Fall and Winter fundraising events. Our Grandmothers’ Tea and African Dinner are particularly popular.