laurapants: Craft, Cooking, Creativity

How we ended up with an organ

Posted on January 29, 2018 by

Our house came with a lot of extras. When we were getting ready to close on the house, we did a walk through with the owner so we (he) could decide what he was going to leave behind when he moved out. We knew that it would be difficult for him to leave the home where he raised his family, difficult to get rid of 50+ years of stuff, both physically and emotionally, so Sean and I decided to just accept what he wanted to leave behind and deal with it later. While we did supposedly agree to what was going to be there and what was going to be gone, we found a lot more than we expected when we moved in.

Here is just a small sampling of what we found.

A bed with bare mattress and bed skirt in a purple wall papered room.

I have no idea how old this mattress is, other than too old. Please don’t overlook the green shag carpeting. The wallpaper is clearly impossible to overlook.

A wood paneled room with a blue couch, a quilted wall hanging, and some moving boxes and trash bags.

Sorry this one is blurry. The cross-stitched panels at the top of the built-in wall unit were hand sewn speaker covers. Notice the hanging dried flower arrangement: there were two of those. That blue couch was also not ours. Except I guess it was once we bought the house.

A shelf of books including a full set of The Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau and Popular Mechanics Encyclopedia

No home could be complete without a full set of The Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau. This is tiny, tiny sampling of the books that were left behind. As though I didn’t already have enough of my own.

A two-foot tall Little Bo Peep doll with sheep on a demi-lune table, under a mirror.

I don’t even know what to say about this one.

A pink wicker hamper with a masking tape label that says "Dad thought you might want this."

Dad was apparently right that we wanted it: Sean was stoked to find it, and yes, it is still in the upstairs bathroom.

And the pièce de résistance (or the coup de grâce, however you want to see it):

A living room with chairs, end tables, books, and a 1970s-era organ.

That organ was not supposed to be there. I really did not want to buy an organ. I was not happy about the organ.

Much to my surprise, Sean was very excited about the organ.

We still have the organ.

There was much more than this left behind. I don’t even think we’ve finished discovering all the things that were left behind. I haven’t even talked about the wood shop, fully equipped with a table saw, radial saw, band saw, joiner-planer, mitre saw, giant stash of scrap wood, old screws and nails, clamps, a big vacuum system, and about 70 different hands saws. The attic space above the wood shop that, we discovered, contained boxes and boxes of records from the former owner’s dental practice (and mountains of 20-year-old pigeon poop, which is a whole other story). The crawl space upstairs full of old issues of RV Living magazine. The end tables, small cupboards and cabinets, mirrors and wall hangings. The 40+ potted amaryllis in the sunroom.

So. Much. Stuff.

We’ve made progress getting rid of some of it. Sean has made countless trips to the dump. We sometimes argue over the value and aesthetic quality of the remaining pieces. That organ will probably be with me for the rest of my life at this point.

I can’t imagine what it feels like to dismantle a life you’ve spent over 50 years building. I can’t imagine looking at all of the things you have accumulated over your lifetime and trying to decide whether you still need them, or what to do with what you don’t. I can’t imagine standing in front of that house before you drive away for the last time, saying goodbye to the memories, to the home you spent nearly your entire adult lifetime in. I think accepting these left-behind objects was the least we could do if it eased that experience even a little bit.

And I wonder if any of these things will still be in this house when it’s time for us to leave it behind, ourselves.

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