We moved! The first day two “packers” came and put our possessions into boxes, but ran out of boxes. The packers assured us the “haulers” would bring boxes the next day.
The “haulers” arrived with a big truck . . . but no boxes. Haulers never bring boxes they said. Finally, a fellow from the company’s warehouse came out with more boxes. The four haulers carried boxes and furniture from our unit to the truck until late in the afternoon. Then I was told the truck was full and I still had a garage filled with boxes and paintings!
“What do you mean, you have no more room?” I asked. “Your guy came out and took notes of what was included,” I said with irritation. I slowly explained that everything had to be out today because the buyer was moving in the next day. They said it was not safe to put anything more on the truck. Options were explored. All were unsatisfactory to me. After thirty minutes of discussion, I reluctantly agreed to pay extra for a second trip on the same day. My father’s words came to mind, “It is only money.”
Then as we prepared to take the first load, the truck wouldn’t start. I could only laugh. If I didn’t, I would have cried. This can’t be happening, I thought. I felt I was in some kind of a reality show. This was too funny. With the use of a battery cable, the truck started and followed me to our new home. The night return trip to get the rest of our goods was without incident, except that a good neighbor called me on my cell phone to tell me that a big truck was in front of my garage and guys were taking everything out of it. I thanked him for the call and let him know I was there. Cora and I were in our new home with boxes and an assembled bed by ten that evening. Our bodies had checked out around seven.
The next day two “un-packers” came. They emptied the boxes and placed the contents where Cora directed. When they finished, their boss spoke to me by phone. He had read my written evaluation sent with the haulers and apologized for the mistakes. He offered to reduce the charges. I accepted his gesture. As Cora and I retired that evening, we looked at each other and agreed we would never move again. A lot of time had passed from the days when we were a young couple and called on familia, compadres, y amigos to move us. What happened in between?
Over the last fifty plus years Cora and I have accumulated “stuff.” Why? Preparing for this move, I went through boxes, drawers and shelves. The contents took me on a memory journey. I saw photos of family, friends, events, letters, greeting cards and items that brought back past incidents, some pleasant, some not so pleasant. Why save all this? Was I afraid to offend the sender? On the one hand the items are part of history. I have letters my dad and mom wrote to each other while courting. The writings reflect an era.
I think when we save items, we intend to review them later and get rid of what we don’t need. We don’t really “need” any of the stuff, but tossing out these items is like throwing away a part of us. We convince ourselves that maybe someone else might be interested in the contents or in our lives. Historians love this kind of material. It gives an insight into the times of regular people. Who knows, maybe in the future all a family’s “stuff” will be stored in an internet cloud somewhere and all that need be moved are clothes and furniture. That’s the view from the pier.
(Herman Sillas can be found on most early morning weekends fishing at the San Clemente Pier. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. All photos in the public domain.