It was so much worse than any of us were prepared for. The house and 99% of it’s contents need to be burned. I can’t believe I”m saying that but it is true. I took photos but can’t bring myself to post them. Rats living unchecked since his cats died ruined box after box of vintage fabric, sewing notions, books, linens. Termites ruined 100 year old furniture and the walls themselves were quite literally held up by the wallpaper. My poor mother fell thru the floor – it was paper thin and only supported human weight when it was covered in the layer of junk mail that covered everything. There”s more, but I just can’t speak of it.
I did by some miracle unearth not only his safe, but the safe belonging to my great grandparents, who’s house it was. No money or anything, but such a treasure trove of papers. Marriage and death certificates, all the way from sweden, where that side of my family is from. Papers from his service during the war cleared up many mysteries. Diploma after diploma, masters in physics and electrical engineering, the signs of a brilliant mind. I found his microscope, luckily it is one of the few things not ruined.
Instead I will post one small photo of his yard, sadly I was shaking too badly to get clear photos of most of the trees, but the yard (1/2 acre?) was covered in citrus trees. Orange, grapefruit, tangerine, lemon… it was amazing. The smell was heavenly. The rest of the yard used to contain the sort of garden that fed a family. I could see traces of corn, blackberries, strawberries… but this time of year everything else was dormant.
I couldn’t bring back many memories, but I did spend about an hour with my mother, picking citrus from those glorious trees. I’ll be making marmalade for the family as soon as I get some canning jars next week.
My Aunt and Gramma are sadly still in Florida. The police department of that town has been astonishingly inept and troublesome. Death certificates have still not been issued. They tried to pretend they weren’t sure it was really him. I can’t even say anything else, but I must say my Aunt has the patience of a saint, and thank her for staying with my Gramma.
And to counteract the negative, here’s another kitten picture. Lucie and Nibbler compete for W’s attention: