By Mindy Wolfle
For years, I have referred to the house in which I grew up as the Hicksville Homestead. My parents bought the house in November 1961 and until yesterday, it was still the home to which I returned. Dad left us the day before his 70th birthday over 20 years ago; sadly, Mom died on August 22, 2018. The house is on the market and a potential purchaser is waiting for mortgage approval. The house had to be cleaned out.
A largely unsuccessful estate sale took place in September. It seems that people don’t want to buy other people’s perfectly good furniture, dishes, costume jewelry, bedding, etc., etc., etc. Even carnival glass (once highly collectible) didn’t sell. And charities aren’t interested, either. I attempted to donate a lovely living room of furnishings to a veteran’s home. No thanks, I was told. A bit of trivia: the solid wood living room end tables and coffee table were purchased with mom’s Jeopardy winnings in the late 1960s. Not antiques, but they looked as good as new and were far more substantial than much of the tables sold today. The couches, beds and even the breakfront that matched the dining room table, which was sold, drew no takers. I was told that, “People don’t buy breakfronts anymore.”
For the past several weeks, Paul and I went to the house periodically, a trip that I dreaded each time. Slowly, we picked through what remained – which was a lot – and packed a couple of boxes with bowls, glasses, tissues (mom had tissue boxes everywhere), photo albums, scratch pads, toilet paper, food storage bags and some meaningful knick knacks. Still, so much remained. It was time to let go. Since I work at a law firm with a large trusts and estates practice, I went to the source for a recommendation to a clean out company. The one selected even makes an effort to donate items in good condition. This resonated with me. Everyone I dealt with at the company – The Junk Pros in Cambria Heights – made the process bearable.
So now, the house is bare. The real estate broker said, “Rooms will look much bigger without the contents.” I suppose for realtors, that’s a good thing. For me, it is sad, incredibly sad. Fifty-seven years of accumulated memories, “stuff,” hard-earned treasures, not treasures to everyone, but treasures, indeed.
There was an episode of a situation comedy where the family ate the last meatloaf mom had made and put in the freezer before her passing. Well, the last of those tissues that I retrieved from every room will catch my tears. Thanks, Hicksville Homestead, for being there for Paul and me (and Razin’ and Ripley) following Hurricane Sandy; and thanks for the years I lived under your Levitt House roof. So many holidays, so much laughter, so many tears, so many struggles, so much to recall.
Good-bye, Hicksville Homestead. You will be missed beyond measure.