Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Big Cuter and I, ably assisted by Elizibeth and her access to The Firefighter's truck, delivered most of G'ma's furniture and furnishings to the-happiest-family-in-Tucson-right-now. 

I found them through a classmate at The Humanities Seminars program down at the UofA. The father, a member of the wrong tribe, spent nine years in prison in Rwanda. After his release, he and his wife and three of their five children escaped to Malawi. Two sons had managed to flee earlier; they lived abroad, wondering.  After nine more years in a resettlement camp, they were chosen, by the IRCto start again in Tucson.

Do you know the International Rescue Committee? Their website draws you right in: Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein.  It's barebones, which is fitting since only 5% of their funds 
go to administration

The benefits offered to refugees are not forever entitlements.  This family was looking at eviction in January until the mom's employer bumped her hours to full time.  They can pay the rent.  They didn't have money for extras. After eighteen years of privation, it's amazing what can be considered an extra.

Their first floor garden apartment must seem like heaven to them, woefully under-furnished though it was.  Until we arrived, they had a futon, a lamp, two chairs and an air mattress. 

They now have G'ma's bed and bedding, the rocker, the recliner, the television, all the little ottomans and the wicker coffee table, the wooden end tables, the bathroom cabinet which fell apart every time someone new picked it up making all of us smile even harder, the night stand from her green period, assorted generic throw and bed pillows (I still have the ones she made), the black bench from the bathroom, the big blue poster of flowers, and all her clothes.

I admit to a minor melt-down as I loaded Elizibeth up with the red-and-white-gingham shirt... the light suede car coat.... the turquoise pantsuit..... the jacket she bought in Tiburon when it was colder in July than December in New York for crying out loud.... and I'm teary right now so I'll assume you get the picture and I'll move on to the joy.

Oh, denizens, the joy was spilling all over us. Grins, squeals, little jumps up and down as the whole family pitched in while I sat on the padded bench and supervised, just as G'ma would have done. 

Many hands made light work and we were finished in no time. Then the dad videotaped a thank you starring all of us, sending blessings to all of us and to my beloved mother, and we drove away, quoting Elizibeth, with hearts so full they were bursting.

They solved the problem of G'ma's stuff by making us feel special. It will all be used and treasured and G'ma will be remembered as they fall asleep on her pillows and I know that if her spirit is in the area, she's sharing the smile on my face right now


  1. Miss Ashleigh, I can feel the love thru your written words. What a great way to repurpose Gma's belongings. You do always find the best way to help others and I so admire you for that.
    Thank you for all you do, and I hope you have the Merriest Christmas ever!

  2. Your mother is laughing and dancing, and telling everyone she sees, "that's my girl. She has a big heart." You have made us all very pleased today with your generosity and kindness. When a dear friend died as the Christmas season arrived, I was responsible for clearing her house. A neighbor who had been kind to my friend came over and I offered her anything in the house that she would like. She took a beautiful dining set and all the fine china. The neighbor had never had a dining table and she said that year all of the family would sit around that table for Christmas dinner and toast my departed friend. Sounds like the family will be doing likewise for your mother.

  3. Bless you for your generosity. You inspire me with your life.

  4. What a great new life for your Mom's stuff.

  5. And it was such an easy solution to a complex problem - her stuff was not good enough to consign and not bad enough to throw away. No one judged her possessions... they were accepted with such grace and gratitude and joy and ...and... and...I do so wish you could have been there to share the wonder!

    G'ma is not surprised. I know.


Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!