Bill came in from visiting Bob and Gladys next door, looking like the cat that got the cream. He couldn’t wait to share the news with Kat.

“Looks like we’re getting new neighbours, Kat. Bob and Gladys are moving out.”

“Gosh, they’ve been there a long time. I wonder why they’re leaving. Maybe they found a bigger place.”

“No. It’s the opposite. They’re downsizing into an apartment.”

“Wow. I wonder what happened. They must have fallen on hard times.”

“No, they just don’t want to look after a big place anymore. They’re moving to a place where someone else does the gardening. And there’s even a pool and a steam room. They’re happy as anything. And they get to be closer to the kids.”

Kat shook her head. “I don’t get it. What will they do with all their stuff?”

“Well, Gladys told me she’s doing this thing called Swedish Death Cleaning. They’re getting rid of heaps of stuff. They’re going to invite all their friends and family over to take anything they want.”

“What?! They’re just going to give away their stuff? They’re just going to give away all their family memories? Don’t they have any regard for family history?”

Bill had the answer to that. “Actually, they’re really into genealogy and family history. Since Bob retired, he signed up to and he’s reconnected with long lost relatives. They share all their family tree information. You can even scan in documents and photos and it’s all there. Gladys has been recording all the stories about the kids growing up and those are in too. The stories will live on forever. Isn’t that clever?”

“You know you can’t trust the internet, Bill. They’ll be sorry one day.”

“I think they’ll be just fine, swimming in their pool with their grandkids, and not mowing lawns and cleaning a huge house. Wouldn’t you like to live an easier life, Kat?”

“My life is just fine. You can carry me out of this house in a box. I’m staying put till I die, just like my parents did. Someone has to look after our family history.”

Bill was defeated. He had nothing left to say.

The following Saturday, Kat heard some commotion and looked out the window. There were Bob and Gladys standing in their driveway with a bunch of people. They were all laughing and chatting. It looked like they were either having a garage sale or a party. Curiosity got the better of Kat and she went over to her neighbours’ house.

Sure enough, there were Bob and Gladys, laughing, smiling, and inviting everyone there to take what they wanted. Kat was shocked.

Preserving Family HistoryThen she spotted that lovely glass bowl they’d brought back from their trip to Italy. Could they really be just giving it away? How would they remember their trip if they didn’t have that bowl sitting on their coffee table? Kat didn’t care, she had to have it.

After a little small talk, she took her lovely new bowl home. “Look what I got Bill! I didn’t even have to go to Italy to get it.”

“Where are you going to put it?”

Kat looked around her living room, at the coffee table, dining table, TV table. Every surface was piled high with papers and magazines and things she’d brought home. She’d have to find a special place for the bowl. But not today.

Bill made a mental note to bring retirement goals up in their next session with their counsellor, Louise.



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