All We Have To Fear Is Fear Itshelf: My Parents’ Greatest Gift

Hyperbole alert: my parents have given me and my sisters uncountable great gifts over the past 6 and a half decades, starting with, y’know…life. Nurturing. Education. That ol’ stuff.

But this one? This one’s right up there, beyond bicycles and maybe even musical instruments. It’s a slow-mo gift, for sure, but it…has…begun: my parents are starting to divest themselves of Things.

Exhibit A: the basement of my childhood home, a few years ago

I can’t call it “de-cluttering,” because most of it is great stuff: sports equipment, books…more books, more sports equipment…OK, that’s pretty much my family in a nutshell. They also have a lot of art, but I don’t think they’re giving that away just yet.

Most specifically, my mom startled me this week by mentioning the “bare shelves in the living room.” Now, I knew of my dad’s plan to donate all his science books to the Duke Bio-Sci Building’s Student Reading Lounge–a place dedicated to the delicious art of book-browsing, a practice that’s gone the way of the card catalogue. But I didn’t realize he meant to donate them, like…now! So I got my mom to send me some pictures.

Here’s the “before”:

You can’t tell, but take it from me–those books go floor to ceiling, two full walls’ worth.

And here’s, well–now:

Books gone. Dog still there.

Clearly, there’s still one shelf to go…but I kind of hope it stays there as a reminder of all those decades.

Still more, off to the right of the frame…Also, still a dog. Some things don’t change.

To give a sense of the history of our house’s book-walls, here’s me and my mom and sisters with our grandparents back in…let’s say 1964.

The books…the books are coming…!

So. Let this be a lesson to me. What lesson? Pick one: Never too late to divest yourself. Never too old to surprise your children (my parents are about to be a combined 179 years old). Never too old to make a difference in this world. Or just to finally do what they made us girls do, and Clean Your Room!

What’s next? Stay tuned. My Amazing Parents continue to amaze me.

4 thoughts on “All We Have To Fear Is Fear Itshelf: My Parents’ Greatest Gift

  1. It must be hard to see those bare walls….and it’s also a great gift to you that they’re not leaving everything for you to have to deal with down the road.

    • I’m so proud of them, I actually don’t mind the bareness. And I KNOW you can relate to that latter part! My mom’s a weaver, and they’re going to use that space to display her work, which is currently higgledy-piggledy all over the house.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s