Keeping it real and Keeping it positive.


on March 12, 2018

Tonight is the last night we will be in our townhouse with most of our ‘things’. The moving truck will pull up again…for the 30th time in our married life and take the ‘things’ we plan to keep. I sit here and remember the first time that happened. We had no’thing’. We had been married 10 months and I was 2 months pregnant. Barry found out on the Monday after Easter than he got a new job as a General’s Aide at West Point and that we were moving…..on SATURDAY. Yes, in 5 days. We had been living in a furnished apartment in Fayetteville, NC. I was hoping we were heading to Europe after the baby came because…well….I married a soldier and everyone said that I would see the world. We did have one piece of furniture. We had ordered a hand-made North Carolina rocking chair to have to rock our baby. It and our wedding gifts would be the only possessions we would have to move to NY….to an UNFURNISHED apartment. Hmmmm

We managed to get furniture when our apartment was ready and our little girl came in to the world with a crib and a lovely NC rocking chair. Almost 24  months later and this time in my third trimester with baby #2 our THINGS were loaded back on a truck..this time a really BIG truck as we had managed to acquire many THINGS in those two years.

This rhythm kept happening from then until now. Move 30! A different truck and different THINGS. It’s time to downsize…not quite to where were started in NC those 43 plus years ago, but it’s that time when we decide what REALLY means the most to us. What THINGS are worth keeping in to our final years and then letting our kids and grandkids decide who gets what. A hard decision on some level that has taken us over a year to make happen, but here we are. Boxes packed and ready for this retirement move….phase 2.

We moved a Penske truck load down in November. It included that rocking chair….the one that was our very first piece of furniture. I will never part with it. Too special. Too many memories. The one of a very few pieces that is OUR legacy…it stays. We moved a small hutch that was my Grandma Fishback’s. I lived next door to her for the first seven hears of my life. She was my rock. She was my idol. I wanted to have something that was hers and we have moved that hutch 29 of our 30 moves. It’s in the Florida house now. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in the front door. It’s part of who I am…she’s part of who I am. It stays. We moved the blue china that lives in the hutch. It’s from my Grandma Martin. It was her mother’s wedding china from Scotland. My Grandma Martin was born in 1899 so you do the math. We’ve also moved that china over 20 times. It stays. It’s also part of who I am. Both my grandmothers were strong women who dealt with more than most and loved and lived fiercely. I want to alway be like them.

There are china cups and saucers that were my mother’s. They stay. Mom loved pretty things. She never used them, she just loved them. She didn’t have many pretty things but I am so proud to have a few of her pretty things. I use them. I want to always remember how my mom, in spite of many hardships, never gave up. Always believed in us. Always cheered us on. Another strong woman.

Barry is the family historian. He is the keeper of the kid’s kudo file as he calls it. Their special report cards, projects, and the many, many printed emails and now texts and FB messages that cause us both to pause and remember how blessed we are with these two amazing children. The Kudo file stays….

I have two special small containers. In those containers are things like the letters Barry wrote me from West Point and from the war and other deployments. I’m glad we were low tech back then so I can have those letters in those containers. There are other special  things like the bulletins from our parent’s funerals…and the cover of the Bible I carried when we got married. They are the REALLY important things…the things that have the most value. They stay!

We have kept just a few pieces of furniture for our Florida house, but each piece we have kept tells a part of the story of our lives..where we lived, what we did there. Our story. Our things. Our memories.

We bought a lot of NEW THINGS for our retirement home in Florida that represent .NEW beginnings..NEW adventures…NEW memories to be made. THINGS, old and new. All valuable for different reasons. Pictures stored in shoe boxes and others framed on the walls. Awards and gifts given to us that represent our years in the Army that created so many of the memories we have of raising our kids and growing up.

When we were young and moving so often with our growing children we would always pray when the truck drove off ….Dear Lord, please protect our earthly possessions but Lord, if they were all to perish what really matters is standing right here in this circle.

Tomorrow another truck will pull out of the driveway. Barry will be at work and tonight before he went up to bed he made one request…’take a picture of the truck pulling away’….I think he is ‘feeling’ it too. …and Dear Lord, please protect our earthly possessions but if they were to perish what really matters is not in that truck..but in the heartbeat of those we love. AMEN.


To be continued…….

12 responses to “THINGS….

  1. Lina Kaunienė says:

    Dear Barbara,
    It was my early morning reading, around 7a.m., and I was drinking coffee with milk and carefully reading about ” things” . We can hear people saying ( and we agree) that material things are not important or not so important as other values in our lives , but in this case we can affirm that ” things matter”! Behind every
    “thing” there is somebody’s life, somebody’s story! And memories!
    You made me cry, Barbara, and I have some witnesses here- my ” things”!



  2. Donna Marie Bartoli says:

    Thanks for sharing. I understand how you feel. I moved almost 4 years ago from where I lived all my adult life. Change is good though. You have friends here in Florida. Hope all goes smoothly in your transition. Please call if you need anything. Today is the beginning of the rest of your life.
    Enjoy! You only live once.


  3. Barry Willey says:

    Whew……your best yet… we’re in this for the long haul hon. I love you. Happy moving day!!


  4. Mary Ellen says:

    Lovely, Barb. Safe travels for you and those precious things.


  5. Peggy Albury says:

    Wow! Your words are so moving (no pun intended😳), and so strong! Thank you for sharing such deep stuff!!


  6. Margaret Nowak says:

    I think people enjoyed reading your blog, because they could see a lot of their own life in your words. Enjoy your new home.


  7. Sandy Oujiri says:

    As always, Barb, your words are calming and so positive! Keep ’em coming!


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