While we were in CA Daddy wanted us to go through some of the (mountains of) kitchen stuff so that he had more room in the cupboards. We went through the mugs and he picked out a dozen or so that he liked and we loaded the rest into the van to take to Goodwill. We rearranged glasses in other cupboards to mostly fit in the space left by the mugs.
We went through some of the baking pans and got rid of several dishes that probably won't be used anymore. The tricky thing is that we wanted to keep enough "stuff" around so that, when we all come home for, say, Thanksgiving one year, we'll have plenty of pots, pans, and serving trays to still have a family dinner. And really, our family won't be getting smaller anytime soon. I did get to take home two beautiful wooden "toastmaster trays" and a stainless serving tray. I haven't figured out where to put them yet :) but they're lovely to have around, reminding me of Momma.
One of the Things that was very important to my mother was china (and crystal--and other hostess/entertaining accoutrements). Did you know my mother had six sets of china? And four sets of crystal? And, while I'm listing things, she also had four patterns of silverware!
Blue Danube (I picked the same pattern for my wedding china) for her every-day set, and Cleopatra for her fine china. She picked these out when she was in high school in Japan. My grandmother spent $100 on dinnerware for Momma that day and she got full sets for 8 in each set of china. Yes--full service for 8 (including serving dishes!) was only $50 in Japan at that time. Incredible. [as a comparison, one place setting in Blue Danube these days runs for $200.] Vivian will inherit the Cleopatra (and Momma's bronze silverware from Asia).
Over the years, she increased her two patterns to many more place settings. I think she has service for at least 12 in the Cleopatra now, and service for something like 24 in the Blue Danube (which is really more like two sets). Serving dishes innumerable--and of all shapes and sizes. She even has full tea and coffee service in each pattern.
Lois Hinman's pottery and built her collection of the blue petroglyph (on the right) up to service for 8 with serving pieces. This also was one of the things Daddy wanted "cleared out" from the cupboards. My brother and I split the set--I got the plates and bowls and he got the serving pieces (he has pottery already that will go well with the petroglyph). I'm so excited to get these dishes. I didn't realize just how much I really did want it until it was settled and set aside for me. They have always been favorites of Taylor, too. Daddy (very graciously) said the "JLM estate" will increase the set to 12 for me, and add a couple serving pieces, so Summer went to Lois and commissioned more pieces. I should have them by Christmas. I cannot wait :)
The other set of china Momma has is a Noritake pattern called Effingham. None of us are sure what to do with it yet :) but I'm sure we'll figure it out eventually.
I know that, for the next several years, any trip home to Daddy's house will probably involve sorting through more of Momma's things (and through some of her Things, too). We will get rid of a lot and leave a lot in the house and probably take a lot with us. In a very tangible way, I think it helps with the grieving process. As you sort through the various physical objects the person has left behind, you are also able to sift through your memories, weighing each of them in turn, and treasuring those most dear until you see her again. I do look forward to the day when we go to Daddy's house just to visit, but I am thankful that we have time to remember Momma in her Things and in each other.