Moving Day

Monday Morning Musings


And so the newlyweds have moved.

We tell them about our first apartment—

the cinderblock shelves,

the closet made into a study

with the desk that is now theirs.

It has an ink-stained drawer,

damage done by my husband

when he was just a young boy,

and punished for


But that was long ago.

As newlyweds,

we ate at

a card table

borrowed from my mom,

with four folding chairs

to go with it.

And we felt lucky

to have it.

And giddy with the excitement

of furnishing our first home.

They have the table

that sat in our basement

I think it belonged

to my husband’s grandmother.

But perhaps I’m wrong.

It has a wood veneer top.

To be perfectly honest,

I didn’t particularly like it.

But somehow it is perfect,

sitting in their kitchen alcove.

Their chairs

are the chairs that went

with the first table we purchased.

in that first apartment

with the cinderblock shelves.

My husband has re-caned

these chairs

for our daughter and her husband.

As he sits in their kitchen

my husband reports

that nothing has broken.

He’s joking,

I think.

I hope.

It is cheerful,

that kitchen of theirs.

Newly painted–

and my daughter was right

about the color.

We bring in boxes

and furniture.

Their dog guards it–

and them.

Their cat hides

in a closet.

We think of other moves.

My husband and his friends

moved my dad several times.

It wasn’t so bad.

They were young and strong.

And they got treated to a dinner

each time.

Not the typical pizza and beer,

although perhaps there was beer,

I don’t remember


there was

so much food.

Courses and courses of Chinese delights

At his favorite restaurant.

Perhaps there were other restaurants, too.

My dad loved food.

and playing the host.

In our first apartment

we had a bed

and bureau

bought from my cousin Sali.

We still have them,

the mattress replaced,

of course,

but the frame still sturdy.

There was an old bamboo bookcase, too.

Is it in our basement somewhere?

Moving brings memories,

doesn’t it?

Possessions do not

make a home,


each item packed

and then unpacked

tells a story.

Someday they will get our piano,

the piano I played as a child.

The ivory keys are ragged,

damaged by me,

I’m told,

although I don’t remember.

And I was such a good child.

Never mind.

It makes our piano unique.

I remember the movers coming

to move that piano

when we moved into our house,

our first house

where we still live.

I was pregnant with our older daughter.

We were packing boxes

and dreams.

And now we watch our children

do the same.


29 thoughts on “Moving Day

  1. It must have been like moving yourself seeing so many of your things going out the door. Truth is of course that whatever goes doesn’t matter half as much as your daughter going. Watching them settle into married life in their new home will be exciting though ( especially if you hide the cookery books) and I’m sure you’ll get plenty of invitations to come over.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    • You’re so funny, David. My daughter does own cookbooks, but like me, she tends to just make up recipes. We were happy to help them, and happy to give them things we don’t need. The photo at the bottom is actually stuff they’ve left at our house because they don’t have anywhere to put it.
      Yes, we’re glad they’re nearby. Our other daughter is in Boston and we can’t just pop in there.

  2. I love the your idea: Possession do not make a home, but they do tell a story.

    Before we were married, I, in the romantic haze that surrounds being newly engaged, remember telling someone how romantic it will be to put our clothes in card-board boxes, thinking that we had only a king-sized bed for the bedroom. It turned out Cliff had bought a dresser and chest of drawers and bed (no head-board) before I moved into his upstairs garage apartment.

    These days I required a greater measure of comfort. But not then.

    • Awww, that’s so sweet, Marian. Thanks for sharing your newlywed tale. We still don’t have a headboard, but I’m long past the days of sleeping on a friend’s floor, as we used to do. 🙂

  3. That’s so sweet 🙂 They’re still in the honeymoon phase.

    After being married a few short weeks, (some 39 years ago), I decided to rearrange our living room furniture, bought some wall hangings and pictures and an etagere from K-Mart, and added some what-nots and books from one of my cardboard boxes. My husband came home from work, didn’t recognize anything, thought he was at the wrong apartment, and left. He drove around our apartment complex for quite some time, knocking on doors, until he figured out that he had been at the correct apartment the first time.

  4. What a poignant time for you, Merril! This reminded me of my own early days and how we’ve been dealing with handmedown furniture and our son recently (not married, but living with girlfriend).

  5. Lovely post, lovely memories. You’ve brought back some of my own memories of moving days and early married days. Cinder block shelves in the living room, hippie “Indian tapestry” covering the cinder block walls of a married student housing apartment, and a giant spool as a kitchen table.

  6. I loved your beautiful; poem and the story it told. Of history etched into all those precious pieces of furniture and the many hands and hearts that have touched them. Oh the stories they could tell!
    I had to laugh when I read about your piano. My Dad offered us Mum’s Yamaha upright about 2 years ago. Meantime, I offered our old piano to a family from the school whose daughter sings. They haven’t been able to arrange to pick it up and so we haven’t moved Mum’s piano up and now my daughter has her audition and we could really use it. I wrote a bit about my relationship to the piano as a chil in this post about our efforts to prepare for the audition. I think I scratched letters into the ivories of Mum’s baby grand. :
    xx Rowena

    • Thanks, Rowena. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and that you can relate. 🙂 Our piano is a baby grand. When we moved into the house, we had someone who knows what he’s doing restore some of the inside workings. It’s a nice piano–albeit with its own idiosyncrasies, as well as lots of memories.

      • I love how you refer to “idiocyncracies”. That’s fabulous. My mother bought my grandmother’s Steinway and that’s the piano used in the photographs of my daughter when small. It’s been such a part of our family, although my aunt has her original Bechstein which must be from the 1930s. It’s a beautiful instrument and that’s the one I really associate with my childhood and growing up. We used to put all our Christmas presents on top.
        It was funny because when I was reading old newspaper stories of my grandparent’s wedding online, I found out that my grandmother actually had a miniature grand piano on her wedding cake.I found this quite intriguing and couldn’t help feeling that my grandfather was marrying her and the piano. It was a joint deal. That said, he knew what he was in for. She was who she was. xx Rowena

      • That is so cool that your grandparents had a miniature grand piano on their wedding cake. I would think it was unusual to have something like that then? My younger daughter and her husband had cake topper with weightlifter guy holding the bride up with a barbell. It was very them. 🙂

      • It has certainly struck me an unusual. It’s the sort of thing I’d more expect on a birthday cake. It’s also interesting when you factor in that my grandfather was more of an athlete. He’d captained the school cricket and rugby teams and was a dentist. I also recall him as quite the jovial extrovert. The piano definitely had no reference to his life. I think they were a classic case of opposites attract.

  7. What a lovely prose piece Merril thank you. A real sense of history of loved objects passing into loving hands. I remember a large brightly cloth I used as a curtain in my bachelor apt many many years ago which came with me when I married and was used as a covering for a stuffed out sofa – my husband’s. When we finally bought proper furniture I used the cloth as a bathing wrap and now one of my son’s uses it for a covering for his table ..

    • Thank you for your kind words, Susan.
      And thank you, too, for sharing the story about your large, brightly-colored cloth curtain/slipcover/bathing wrap/table covering that has passed from your days as a single woman to earlier married life and now to your son. How cool!

  8. You are a poet, Merril, and your vivid images brought to mind two memories of my own: the romance of owning little and living large in the beginning of our marriage, and the enjoyment of seeing our children claim, repurpose, and transform some of the things older relatives have given or sold them. I’ve always gotten more joy from loving what we have and using our things well than from having the latest, best, most expensive things. We spray painted an orange crate to use for an end table and used bricks and boards to make bookcases. When we could afford real furniture, we bought a set of three simple walnut tables. We are using two of them and our daughter uses the third one as her coffee table. It survived college housing!

    • Thank you so much for your very kind words, Shirley! I love that my post sparked memories for you–and that you shared them. That is so cool about your tables. When you bought them, I’m sure you had no idea that your daughter would some day use one in college housing and beyond.

  9. The only time we moved that didn’t involve a hassle is when our new employer paid a moving company to pack and ship everything for us. 😉

    It sounds like the newlyweds have excellent building blocks – the repurposed furnishings – and family memories for their new home.

    • Moving is definitely not fun. When we moved my mom a couple of years ago–not even very far–it was such an ordeal, even with movers. Our daughter and son-in-law had a pretty easy move, especially with parental help. 😉

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