Plunder

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Fictional musings of a life unfulfilled.

Submitted: April 01, 2015

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Submitted: April 01, 2015

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Grandma was a collector.

She collected all sorts of things. For a while she was into making porcelain dolls; and, there was the garden gnome collection. Back in the 80s, when everyone had to have a Cabbage Patch Doll, she had dozens. Collectors glasses from McDonalds, beanie babies, you name it - she had it all. She had it all because she could afford to.

Grandma had married into money. One wouldn't know it to look at her or her late husband, but they were loaded. A sizeable inheritance from her husband's side of the family, coupled with wise investment and a government job/pension left her quite comfortable after grandpa passed. Her collecting didn't speed up then; but, it didn't slowdown either.

Grandma just died, and she died surrounded by stuff.

For a little more than 60 years, she was married; and during that time she collected whatever she wanted. Now, the surviving family has to sort through all this stuff and decide what to do with it. All those dolls, and mugs, and ceramics.... oh, yeah, and all that jewelry. Grandma had  a ton of jewelry.

After the funeral and the dinner, back at grandma's house, the relatives were in good spirits. No, they weren't fondly remembering anything grandma said or did. They weren't commenting on the service or who showed up. They weren't even catching up with each other. No, they were ready to dig through the jewelry.

Grandma had rings, earrings, necklaces, pendants, and just about anything you can think of. Within minutes, all the shiny things she had spent her entire life collecting were scattered among the family. Greedily, like starving vultures, they picked through one drawer after another. Each lockbox was quickly opened and the contents rifled through. Aunt Mary? She was seated on the ottoman next to her fat daughter-in-law, and she had multiple rings on each finger. At least a dozen necklaces adorned her previously bare neck. The fat daughter-in-law commented how they looked "pimp."

Mom looked numb. She had for the past five days. Mom didn't need to sort through things, because she had gotten the 5-karat yellow diamond ring that grandma had purchased from the Woolworth estate. I would like to think she didn't jump into the frenzy because she missed her mother; but, I can't say I believe that's true.

"Ooh" and "Aah" were the most common utterances as naked flesh grew covered with shiny yellow and white gold. Light from the patio door bounced off the multiple pieces of valuable carbon and flashed across the ceiling and walls.

"Can you imagine just what the scrap value of all this would be?" mused Uncle Paul. "She didn't buy any fake stuff."

Uncle Paul only cared about money. he had been waiting for his mom to die for a few years, already. He wasn't in any financial difficulty; but, he really wanted his inheritance.

Grandpa had a lot of odds and ends - things that he collected and grandma held on to after he died - but, no one was digging through that stuff. Many of those things had been moved from the closet to the bed, and carelessly cast from the bed to the floor. What was left of grandpa was in danger of being trampled as Uncle Paul nearly sprinted from room to room to open yet another jewelry box.

I wasn't judging them. I was just missing my grandma.

My stupid cousin's fat wife picked a bauble from a drawer, looked at it and wrinkled her nose. She put it back into the drawer because it didn't meet with her discriminating taste. I guess she thought it would be tacky compared to the 16 or so rings she was already wearing. 

That bauble was a cameo ring I had bought my grandmother. I bought it when I was in the military and wanted to get my family some quality gifts for Christmas. She loved it and actually did wear it on occasion. I was happy that it won her approval.It just wasn't good enough for my fat cousin-in-law.

I watched as item after item was greedily handled and examined; and, I wondered what story each piece might have like the cameo ring I had purchased. What were gifts and what were impulse buys? What did each piece mean to grandma? Was there any significance with any one item in particular? I didn't know, and no one else cared.

"Aren't you going to grab something?" Uncle Paul asked me.

"Why would I?"

"For your lady. There's bound to be something she would like."

It felt vulgar to me. It looked vulgar. Grandma had spent all this time carefully selecting and purchasing these items, and had carefully selected how and where she would house each item. All that time and all that money - for what? Any organization was now gone and anarchy reigned over the order she had established.

All that time collecting, and for what? She was dead. She was dead and we had just buried her. The dirt was still fresh on top of her casket, and her living room had been transformed into a jewelry fire sale. What was the point of it all? She definitely didn't take it with her.

I grabbed the cameo ring to hold on to. i wanted to remember the story behind it. I wanted to never forget. That was my solemn vow. If there was anything for me to truly take from this experience, it was that everything has a story; and it's good to know and important to remember.

Then I saw I ruby ring. A big sparkly ruby that was offset with a small diamond on each side. My girlfriend likes rubies. So I quickly shoved it in my pocket and left. I had no other reason to stay.


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