We’ve been in Fort Myers for the past 2 weeks getting my Mom’s house ready to sell.  My brother and sister were here for about a week to help go through her things.  What a difficult job, going through things that she kept and treasured for 82 years.  While we couldn’t keep everything, each of us got a chance to choose what we wanted.  The rest went to Goodwill and Hope Hospice–2 of my mother’s favorite organizations.

We had some laughs going through old pictures and documents.  Why did she keep holiday card mailing lists going back to 1967?  tax returns from 1950?  the 1972 Cosmopolitan magazine with the infamous nude centerfold of Bert Reynolds????

An Idea of How My Dad Felt About Work
We cleaned out a box of stuff that my Dad must have packed up from his desk at work. It sat in the garage for the past 20 years. This gives you an idea of how my Dad felt about work!

2011/365/308 What a Match!
Young, happy smiles

You Think Your Taxes Are High!
My parents paid $6.30 in taxes in 1950!

Ye Old Kitchen Stuff
We found some relics in the kitchen–items that we remembered using since childhood. Judy took the rolling-pin and Alan the grater. Guess I’m stuck with the ladle!

Mom's Dirty Secret
This collection of items were most likely pilfered from restaurants. We always cringed when Mom would say “This looks like a nice knife” and would stash it in her purse. The last time I visited her I asked her “What kind of example were you setting for us??!!”

Box o' Baby Shoes
These old leather baby shoes belonged to my Dad and his sister–saved for close to 80 years!

Right Out of the 197os
Alan had fun going through the old records, most of which he’s taking home. His all-time favorite was Herb Alperts’s Whipped Cream album. Somehow, I don’t think the music was the main attraction! This table was in our house on Campfield road–a 70’s classic!

Harriet, Then and Now
I posed with my 6th grade photo. Besides the wrinkles, I look the same!!

We also found 2 winning scratch-off lottery tickets in Mom’s purse. With her winnings we bought $14 worth of power ball tickets. Alas, no luck, but it would have been ironic if we won!

My brother took some great photos of items we found and he also blogged about our experience (www.cogdogblog.com)  

Some special musings on his blog:

Dad was a bricklayer – One of the best he’s written

Mom’s Friends give local cookie love – about the memorial service

Left on Mom’s table – about our brother David

Dear Photos at Mom’s house – photos that transcend time

After days of cleaning out the house and taking care of business we took a break and went to the beach on Sanibel Island where we returned a bucketful of seashells collected over the 20 years our mother lived here.
Release of the Sea Shells
Release of the seashells

Returned to the Sea
Returned to the sea for future treasure collectors
(I’m not sure these were from the gulf so someone may be surprised to find an Altantic shell on the gulf coast!)
Sanibel Island
Alan, Judy and I on Sanibel Island

Mom told each of us how much she wanted us to “be there for each other”. I think she would have been proud to see us handling this difficult time.

On the way home we stopped for dinner at Grandma Dot’s restaurant  at the marina on Sanibel. We had gone there the last time we stayed on Sanibel with Mom. It was as good as we remembered. Delicious local seafood and the best home-made key lime pie!
Alan enjoying stone crab claws
Alan enjoying stone crab claws — I don’t think he’s met a crab he didn’t like!

Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island
Me and Skip No, it’s not the Bahamas but it is very nice!

We shared her clown collection (yikes!) with her friends and neighbors.  We baked chocolate chip cookies in her kitchen.  Mom was known as the ‘cookie lady’!

Me and the Missus.... or Mister... or....
Scary Clowns
This pair belonged to Judy and I. They were made close to 50 years ago by our grandmother’s sister. Somehow, we had to part with them…

A beautiful memorial service was held at the temple my mother attended and volunteered for many years.  I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love for her and the funny stories about her bossing people around in the kitchen, her love of butterflies and how much she touched everyone’s lives.  There was a huge showing of neighbors and friends who had such wonderful memories and stories.

2011/365/310 Tribute to Alyce and Her Cookies
Mom’s friends enjoying cookies in the kitchen at Temple Judea where, at one time, Mom ruled!

Cookies Make Rhonda Smile
Mom’s dear friend Rhonda smiles with her cookie

True Words
The plaque honoring Mom at the Temple

Ron and Jonathan
Mom’s wonderful neighbors, Ron and Jonathan, have been so helpful. We even got to see their amazing Halloween decorations!

The house and car are ready to sell.  We’re just waiting for the legal process to wrap up.  The process hasn’t been too difficult although I’m very frustrated with all the extra effort I have to make with businesses to close her accounts.  A majority of them need call backs because they don’t do what they said they would do!!

We’re missing our boat and heading south with all of our friends.  I’m keeping track of Kanau, Onward and Comocean!  As a minor consolation, we attended the Fort Myers boat show today.  It was mostly motor boats and fishing stuff, of course, but we did get on a nice new Mainship trawler and a lovely Grand Banks fast trawler.  As we were sheepishly looking at what we normally call a ‘melted cheese boat’ we struck up a conversation with another sailing couple who were just as curious as we were about the boats that normally fly past us.

Fort Myers Boat Show
Visiting the Fort Myers boat show

Fort Myers Boat Show
Skip checks out the camper on pontoons!

Fort Myers Boat Show
Interior of a ‘cheese’ boat

Fort Myers Boat Show
Fort Myers Boat Show — not a stick in sight!

We’ll be here another week and then heading up to Georgia for Thanksgiving!