Sunday, April 18, 2010

Moving Day Minus One

Up the garden path to the front door of Fort Chapman.

A year ago this April, my father was still on his feet, walking daily with the supervision of a caregiver, living at home, spending his afternoons dozing in his back garden. Mom was making breakfast, lunch and dinner--of a sorts--for them both, paying the bills, balancing the checkbook and doing all the grocery shopping and gardening.

Now, they are both gone and I'm getting ready to move into their house. That part still feels strange. Though I've worked hard in the three months since my mother died, to transform the house and make it feel like my own, there are still many reminders to be found of both my parents.

At the bottom of a rag bag, I found this layette cover someone had embroidered with a large A.C. for Ashley Chapman, my father. His grandmother was from Scotland and the elaborate needlework makes me think it was done by one of the women in his family from the Old World. But he also had an Uncle Ashley Chapman, born near the turn of the 20th century in Goodwater, Alabama, so it might have been his and thus is even older than my father, who was born almost 91 years ago now. I've rescued it from the rag bag, and it is now tucked in the linen closet at Fort Chapman.

Ashley Chapman's layette cover, with those tiny pleats, takes almost an hour to iron. If you had one of these, it would help to have a maid.

I only live 9/10ths of a mile away and since January, when my sister and I decided we should keep the house for a while, I've been transporting my things, a wicker basket at a time, to Fort Chapman. Though I still have boxes to pack and I'm dawdling by writing this blog post, I keep telling myself this will be an easy moving day, if there is such a thing. I still have my little place for another ten days. I think it will take me that long to get it clean! And if anything (other than large pieces of furniture) is left behind I can always transport it in my car.

Today I moved my two best rugs over to the living room at FC. You have to get the rugs down and vacuumed before the movers come, or you'll never be able to figure out where things are going to fit. That is the fireplace there at the end of the room, and yes it is huge. Very nice on a chilly Pacific day.

Trying to lay out the layout in the LR at FC.

That love seat at the right side of the photo is an old piece of my mother's I had recovered in a cheery check and I've moved it from the living room to the kitchen and back to the living room again, in the hope I'll find the right place for it. It is one of the few large pieces of furniture I've added to my things. All of the rest will nestle nicely in the house.

I hope I will. But I better get packing, or I'll never know.

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steve said...

I enjoy your commentary and photos on RCN. Thanks for sharing.

Be well:-)
Steve C.
(from T'Shala's Tuesday sessions.

Jack said...

Hey, Robin. I stopped in at Fort Chapman this morning at 4 after checking NASA to see if the shuttle was going to land yet. Not many such moments left, at either side of the trip; they're worth catching. I hope you've already had the Fort's chimney checked out. It's the sort of thing that might have slipped through the cracks with the stresses of the past year. You have an excellent setup for wintering with good books (real ones, not electronic screen versions) and the fireside focus that will help with your writing. In that regard, hopefully, you'll have the area around the fireplace shielded from cell-phone signals, too. That's for quiet time; it's no good if any second might be pierced with a ring summoning you away from your reverie. Also, that's a beautiful front view. The place is really looking good. Every day in every way, better and better.

Robin Chapman said...

Thanks to all for visiting me both electronically, Google-earth-ically, and otherwise. Moving Day. AAAAARRRRGH! The chimney survived the Loma Prieta quake in 1989, and has been surviving the heat of fires ever since, so I think 'tis sound. The only problem we ever had with the fireplace is that the Nash's cat once got stuck in it, and had to be removed by the Los Altos FD, hence the nice chimney cap my father had installed. Anyway, I'm moving at the beginning of summer so I'll have to wait for those cozy firesides 'til Fall of 2010. Hard to believe the death of my beloved father has led me to this ... wish he were here.

Lisa said...

omigod, Robin. Your new home is beautiful!

Robin Chapman said...

It may be some day, but since I moved in I've been wondering: what the heck am I doing this for???? It is so much work!!!! But you must now come see me, Lisa. I have tons o' space.