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Big Red Present from California

December 19 , 2008

Written December 22

Dear Friends and Families,


We are finally getting "our" things. I know, we seem to have plenty of "things" in all these diary pictures, but there have been parts missing. When we left California for Ukraine, over ten years ago, everything but 26 suitcases and boxes stayed behind (even Gabby stayed behind). Now, we felt settled enough to warrant getting the remaining things out of storage. In October Marianne and Gabby supervised packing and today, just before Christmas, we got our red container of memories.

The truck and container arrived before dawn, not that early this time of year. Shortly after, three more men to unload and unpack showed up. By ten in the morning, everyone was gone.

We had emptied rooms in preparation for our shipment. Roll over the pictures and click to see the difference.
Up in the loft, Marianne had some more cleaning and decorating to do. The "old" rug looks great as does the glass screen that we have always called "the hippie screen". It really is nice to have these parts of our old life.

This statue is one of my favorite "old things" and, of course, comes with a story. Years ago, Marianne went on a business trip with me to the Northwest. In Portland, we went into a shop that specialized in art work from Zimbabwe and were struck with the simplicity and quality of the work. The shop owner explained that he made twice-yearly trips and bought work from artists from their workshops or, like this piece, from the roadside.

We loved this piece and bought it before knowing how we would get it home. It was far too heavy to join us on the airplane. We priced shipping and discovered that art work was subject to very high rates. It turned out that the cheapest option was to cash in our airplane tickets and rent a car. When we put it in the car trunk, the front wheels almost came off the ground!

On the 700 mile drive, we kept wondering how we would get the weight out of the trunk and up to our condominium. As we got close, we came up with a plan. Our condo had an exercise room, usually populated with big, strong people. We went there and asked the biggest guy in the room if he could help us with something heavy. We didn't say how heavy.

When he saw the piece and tried to lift it he groaned, but could not admit that he had met his limit. He heaved it onto a shopping cart and we wheeled it into the elevator and up to our living room. There, breathing heavily, our Samson lifted the statue to it's "final" resting place.

In the end, "final" has little meaning for placement of our things. What started in Zimbabwe ended up in Pommersfelden, with stops in Portland and San Jose along the way. Each stop has a story and that's what we are truly after.


Remember, keep making stories.

John and Marianne



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