Saturday, January 14, 2012

Round Robin Challenge: House Is a Museum

The Round Robin Photo Challenges topic this week is "Home," a word I have a rather different perspective on at the moment. Normally I go on about Casa Blocher, the Museum of the Weird, and I did indeed take some pictures of our household oddities for you, . But if you read my previous entry, it won't surprise you to learn I have a more serious theme in mind as well.

Let's start with our house. Come on in!

Casa Blocher is nothing if not a house full of collections: dolls, toys, scripts, video, games, tikis, midcentury modern decor, Disney stuff and so on. Some of it is fairly straightforward....

...while other things are a bit more unusual. This vintage shelving unit has a number of items from the 1950s and 1960s on it, plus some Southwestern Indian art items. These aren't so unusual in this part of the country, but I don't suppose too many of you have seen a pottery storyteller figure or a mudhead kachina.

Our house is more than a little messy at the moment, but we're working on it, off and on. We cleared out about 40 boxes of stuff in 2010 and donated it, and are in the process of sorting through a bunch of stuff that got caught outside in the rain a few months ago. (Long story.) John's been working 7-day weeks and I'm working two jobs right now in addition to dealing with various arrangements for my friend Jan. Ah, Jan. That's the other part of what I want to show you.

For fifteen years, Jan lived with her friend Patti in a house of the south side of Tucson. That changed in 2010 and 2011, with Jan home only briefly in between hospital visits and long stints in a nursing facility called Devon Gables. Meanwhile, Patti was diagnosed with dementia, declared incompetent, and sent to another facility. The house has been standing empty. Well, not exactly empty. There were two cats still in there, being fed by a neighbor, plus most of Patti's earthly possessions, plus Jan's, overflowing into a large, very full shed in the back yard. With Jan in the hospital, suffering from a serious lung infection, liver failure, breast cancer and who knows what else, it very recently became clear that Jan was never going to be able to be discharged from Devon Gables, gather up her stuff and move into an apartment. So on Tuesday, a bunch of us from church went out to the house and retrieved Jan's things, with the help of two movers and a rented truck. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera along. Here's where Jan's lifetime of possessions ended up:

I've already lost the keys to the padlock, or I would open the door and give you a peek inside.
That's a 10' x 20' space, and it's very full. It's stuffed with Jan's furniture, books, papers, sheet music, lots and lots of knitting and crafts, a dulcimer and who knows what else.

But a storage space is not a home. It merely contains things that used to mean home.

Yet more of her things are stuffed in the trunk of my car right now, having been accidentally left behind when the movers and I (driving the U-Haul) drove away. Ila rescued these things and here they are, waiting for me to either find the storage space key or have the lock cut off.

Jan was moved to a hospice yesterday, and her parents have cleared Jan's day-to-day possessions out of Devon Gables. Jan's walker in in my office at church now, just in case, by some miracle, she's ever well enough to use it again. Jan never considered Devon Gables home; she pretty much hated the place, but for the past year and a half it's the closest thing she's had to a home. The hospital is certainly not a home, nor the hospice. It sounds mawkish or maudlin or something, but those of us who love Jan now wonder if she will soon be heading to her true home, the one you get to when you die.

Now let's see the other Robins' Home pictures, preferably more cheerful than mine!


Linking List
as of 7:11 PM MST
Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Jama - Posted!
Sweet Memories

Sherrie - Posted!
Food for Thought

Mary Tomaselli - Posted!
Mary Tomaselli's Photography

Gattina - Posted!
Keyhole Pictures


Carly said...

Hi Karen

Read your previous entry and this one as well. That's a tough spot. I wish I could help, the cats are lovely and I would love another one, but I don't think my two babies would be very happy about it. Hang in there, this to shall pass!


Jama said...

I would love to visit your little museum, with collection that reminded me of my younger days...just to photographed your treasures! Here we do have a little museum of toys, which get a regular group of students as visitor, gawking at the simple toys their parents/grandparents used to play.

Gattina said...

It's a nice museum. I think a house should be a place where you love to be and feel well, and it's not important at all how it looks to other people !