Moving is a family effort
Moving from a house long occupied is daunting.
And that is what my husband Bill and I are doing with enormous amounts of help from our family.
After 27 years in the same house, Bill and I have moved into a new, smaller house. In three weeks in March, my family installed new windows, added a wheelchair ramp, widened three doorways for my wheelchair and switched the toilets to taller ones.
Our nephew, Brady Jackson, painted the entire interior of the house.
Carpet was ripped up and replaced with flooring I could more easily navigate.
My sister, Debbye Jackson, was the chief organizer. She located the new house. She arranged the schedule for all my kin to tackle various chores.
They moved furniture from one house to the other — a huge task.
My brother, Bruce H. Perry, worked wonders. My brother, Bruce E. Perry, helped.
My brothers-in-law, Bill Jackson and Tyler Whiteley Sr., were heroes.
Our nephew ,Tyler Whiteley Jr., bagged and boxed large quantities of belongings from the previous house and brought them to the new house.
My sister, Kim Whiteley, joined Debbye in painting trim throughout the new house and lots more.
My sister-in-law, Patty Perry, unpacked five large plastic tubs of good China and everyday China. She ran it all through the dishwasher and put it all away at the new house.
Sister-in-law Louise Perry ran errands and brought us a large pot of her delicious seafood chowder.
Without all this help, I do not know what we would have done.
Every afternoon this past week, Brady has driven me to our former residence. There, he and Bruce H. have lugged old furniture from the house to the huge Dumpster in the driveway. With temperatures in the high 90s, they have accomplished an extraordinary amount.
Ty Jr. has been ripping up ancient carpet and heaped all sorts of things into the Dunpster.
Friday morning, a brimming Dumpster was hauled away and emptied. Then another empty Dumpster was delivered. In no time, Bruce and Brady had it nearly filled again.
Meanwhile, each afternoon Brady wheeled me to the garage entrance, gave me an empty trash bag and a box or a bag to sort through. Keep this, discard that.
Slowly, I was whittling away. Some things were easily discarded. Others caused me to pause, to study them, to think perhaps they were still important. It was painful to discard some of the books and old letters.
Certain items brought back vivid memories of how and when they were acquired.
Other belongings prompted no memory at all. Where did that come from and why?
I have been sorting through nearly three decades of our lives.
Brady dragged a huge pale blue suitcase to me.
Do you have a key for this, he asked. How do you open it?
I reached to either side of the metal latches and pushed the silver buttons. The latches sprung open. Brady is used to luggage that zips.
Bruce chuckled. “That was before suitcases had wheels.”
Last Monday, the first day Brady drove me to our former home, was overwhelming.
The garage was overflowing with boxes and bags and old furniture from the house.
I could have cried. The task at hand seemed enormous and impossible.
All week, Brady kept reassuring me it would get done — much sooner than I imagined.
By Wednesday afternoon, there was a hint of hope. Brady could be correct.
He and his Uncle Bruce had removed much from the garage. Bruce had rearranged what remained into a more manageable state. He had swept up.
“My goodness,” I said, “we can actually see part of the floor.”
Much remains to be done. But the house is nearly empty and ready for remodeling.
Brady says it will all get done. With a family like mine, I believe it will. How fortunate we are.
Denise Riley is editor emeritus of The Star Democrat.