Then end of an era



I once read that a person dies completely when their name is no longer remembered.


After my mother in law died four years ago, my husband had the job of cleaning out his parents’ home.  My in-laws, like many others who came of age during the depression were thrifty. They also liked to stock up on certain items when they went on sale. Their basement was lined with packages of toilet paper, cans of tuna fish, cans of frozen vegetables and boxes of store brand breakfast cereal.

As my husband cleaned out his parents’ house many of those items came home with him. My in-law’s house was build on swampy land so some of the items had to be thrown away because they smelled, well swampy.

We ended up with many packages of aluminum foil. Each day I wrap my son’s lunch in foil.  Anyone who cooks ends up using a fair amount of foil to wrap cook food.There were many packages of foil.


I have been feeling oddly sentimental about coming to the end of the foil, as if my in-law are now completely no longer of this earth.


Today I wrapped up my son’s sandwich in the fast bit of foil from the basement of my in-law’s home. I mentioned my sense of  this very last bit of mourning to my son. He then reminded me of the matches that also came from their house.

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The book matches are in a deep bowl. There are 250 matches in each of the boxes. I use one match a week to light Shabbat candles. It’s going to take a long, long time before those matches are used up.


  1. The external world may forget but the spirit inside lives on. Lovely thoughts.

  2. My older sister just asked for one of the big boxes of matches. So some of them wil live on in her house, lighting Shabbat candles and re-lighting her sometimes balky stove.

    We also have a large collection of ugly greeting cards from the 1950's and 60's from my linaws. When my kids are in camp I often send them altered cards. yes, sending a sympathy card to a teenager in camp is a bit weird, especially when no one has died. But luckily, these are my kids and they appreciate the warped humor.


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