A Dining Room Set, A Red Couch and Bubbie’s Soup Pot

I’ve discovered the sooner we accept “The Only Constant in Life is Change,” the less blind-sided and disappointed we will be!

Add to that, Disney’s insistence that “Someday My Prince will Come” and society’s (circa 1950s) “Stay at your job until you are ready to retire, receive your gold watch and spend your remaining days in a rocking chair enjoying life,” while being sure our expectations of enjoying the golden years was a given!


And every time Barbara Walter’s (may she rest in peace) said, “THIS IS 2020!” we Baby Boomers saw in our multi-plex minds a beautiful pastel-colored rainbow filled with happy days, grandchildren surrounding us while free of financial and medical woes!


I am dismayed at the number of friends I have who are suffering with, “I didn’t expect retirement/OLDER age to be so hard! I thought that’s what our 20s were for!”


For so many, there has been no contentment while sitting in that rocking chair gazing into the sunset, while grandchildren are scattered across the country, downsizing costs more than staying in the big house you raised your family in and the price for medical treatment for all the senior aches and pains is more expensive than that big house you raised your kids in!


-Family Zoom visitations are real
-Medical insurance hassles are real
-Relocating to be near the grandkids and having to make new friends are real
-Old friends dying are real
-The price of a carton of milk and loaf of rye bread — IF we can even have a glass of milk (dairy issues) or a piece of rye bread (gluten issues) — I can’t have either— are real!
-Political discontent along with, “This isn’t the United States I grew up in!” and we thought the 60s were ruckus! are real


Oy vey! What’s a Baby Boomer to do?

A dear friend’s 40ish year-old daughter and her husband recently had their first child, a blessing to the family. My friend went out-of-state to visit and was dismayed at how her daughter was as a new mother! Now being the “Good Jewish Mother” she was, she kept her mouth shut! She had never realized how rigid her daughter was. Her daughter set up a time schedule for the baby with no thought as to the baby’s needs and when the baby didn’t want to eat, the new mom became agitated and thought something was wrong with the child. The only advice my friend gave was that when the baby was hungry, he would eat. Her daughter wouldn’t accept that.

After 10ish days, the baby started to get into a feeding routine and everyone was happy. The new mom was content and told her mother that it would be easy sailing from then on. My friend told me she had to go out for a walk because she didn’t want to laugh in front of her daughter because she knew as real as the sun was soon to set, that as soon as the parents got comfortable in the baby’s schedule, the baby’s schedule would change! She promised herself to keep her mouth shut and let the little family learn on their own.

The Only Constant in Life is Change!

Recently I was informed by a family member who owns the condo I rent, that it is going up for sale! Blindsided! I thought I was in my forever home!


So in my mid-70s, I had to pack up my life in way too many boxes, spend hours/days/weeks looking for a place to live that was affordable — DON’T EVEN ASK! — in a safe neighborhood, with lots of natural light, lots of cupboard space for my kitchen stuff, shelves for my books and lots of wall space for my furniture and art, and all in a month! I never knew what aches and pains were until I was schlepping books into boxes, wrapping art pieces and tchotchkes, along with the overwhelming decisions as to what to keep, what to sell, what to donate.

I was blessed to find all of the above wants and needs in a lovely condo, except not all my furniture was going to fit.

So along with the stress of a move and the decisions that go along with it, plus spending time online and on the phone for CHANGE OF ADDRESS, turn off/on the electricity, get the TV/internet set up, I lost sleep over what to keep and what not to keep.

First was my Mother’s Hope Chest she got in 1942 when she got engaged! It’s a cedar chest and smells and looks brand new. I only use it for storage and it lives in a garage storage area. I couldn’t bear to part with it and no other family members had the space. I was thrilled when my new place had room in the garage for it. (Too big for inside the house.)

Then there was my beloved dining room set that I’ve had for 48 years. It’s a very Palm Spring-ish looking set, white bamboo-looking metal chairs and base with a glass top. I have never tired of it but most importantly, I raised three children with it in our kitchen, had decades of holiday dinners and parties where loved ones gathered in the dining room  to eat, celebrate and laugh. It was not going to fit in the new dining room or kitchen. I know it’s just a piece of furniture but it has history. My history. My family history. If it could only talk. I let my son handle the sale of it and I left the house when the new owner came to retrieve it, I couldn’t watch it leave my life.

Next was my red couch. A big, comfy red couch that is still in perfect condition that my grandkids played on, watched TV with me, sometimes slept on. Memories. I was thrilled when my daughter in Oregon said she would have someone pick it up and drive it the 615 miles for her and her family to enjoy.

And most importantly was my Bubbie’s soup pot. I don’t even know how old it is because I never remember her making chicken soup in anything else, going back to my earliest years. It is so big, it needed an oversized space to live in! My new dining room set only seats four, and my children have taken over hosting all the holidays, I will probably never use Bubbie’s soup pot ever again, and the children all have fancy name-brand cook ware, so I had to find a closet/cupboard for Bubbie’s soup pot because that is the one thing I could not part with. It is our family history all in one pot that’s been filled with so many chickens and matzah balls.

Bubbie’s soup pot is a constant in our family history/legacy, and that will never change.

1 Comment

  1. So much of this resonates. We recently moved and “passed along” my grandmothers dining table and chairs. They had decades of memories but didn’t make any sense in our space any longer. Thank you for writing and sharing.

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