As I stood in the crowd, in distain,
Photographing, in the drizzling rain.
I saw my Great-Aunt Ida’s belongings jostled about, by people strange,
Who never knew her, loved her, shared her laughter, or pain.
My mom whispered that the person who now owned Ida’s items,
Only had eyes, and a heart, with dollar signs inside them.
He only cared that the stuff go to the “highest bidder,”
The people, swarmed the site, strewing the items aside, either in boxes, or in the trash, like litter,
Cleverly crafting their battle plans like foxes, and critters.
My mom watched Ida’s silver-clad cake-top from the 1920’s torn apart,
Nearly breaking the dolls, and my mom’s heart.
My mom (and I) still envisioned the cake, as it had been,
Preserved in the curved glass of Ida’s oak secretary, unopened.
Beautifully, and proudly, for decades, displayed,
Now, torn apart, strewn, and disarrayed.
The discarded cake, like a sponge, people stepped upon,
Disappeared, as my mom rescued the porcelain plate, it had sat upon, from the muddy, wet lawn.
“Keep it, it’s worthless!” the auctioneer exclaimed,
As he strode on to hunt down the bigger game.
Albums of family photos destroyed by the rain,
A Norse, rosemalled, immigrant trunk, a guilded-framed painting of fjords,
My photos preserved, what others ignored.
A beaded-edge oak table, often covered with lace,
Fattiman, julekakke, rosettes, lefsa, following prayers of grace,
Her baking wondrously filled the air of her place.
A claw-footed stool we used to spin,
A piano of hymns, and a highchair her babies once sat in.
In the 1960’s, she sliced up cheese which my great-grandma had churned,
Way back, as the 19th century turned.
I escaped to the attic to hide from the crowd at the sale,
And, found some vintage tin buttons in a pail.
Great-aunt Ida smiled at us through thick eye-lenses with magnified eyes,
She had hearing aids, and she was wonderful, aged, and wise.
As we played “Spill and Spell,” Chinese Checkers, and Domino’s,
We loved her dearly, from her permed-gray hair to her laced-shoed toes.
After Ida’s sister, my grandma, Thea Mathilda, passed away,
Ida joined her remaining sister, Christina, out Washington way.
Life’s not as simple now, and it never will be the same.
Recently, I found an old “Spill and Spell” game.
I cherish Ida’s final letter to me to this day,
To me, she’s still busy, smiling and happy, in the memories, I replay.
Valerie J. Laidlaw 1/10/2016