2008.10.01 You can take it with you if your kids don't want it

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

My friend Kay called the other day. Kay is one of my oldest and dearest friends from high school days. Kay’s always been rather opinionated; she’s always felt free to speak her mind. She holds back nothing. Maybe that’s typical New York behavior—a lot of my New York friends are that way.

Sometimes I think it’s the effect of living under the rule of her Greek immigrant mother who put many restrictions on Kay’s life (but whom Kay would never disrespect by going against her word).

Kay argued with her mother all the time;   I witnessed many a long, heated and energetic clash—conducted in Greek with an occasional word of English tossed in—after which Kay would turn to me and say something along the lines of, “Sorry, Col, I can’t go. My mom said no.”

Family commitments (I have to attend a  baby shower for my third cousin twice removed), proper decorum (Boys will be there), safety (It’s a dangerous neighborhood) curfew (I have to be in by 6 p.m. before my mother gets home from work), weather (It’s too cold out) kept Kay from joining the rest of the gang in a variety of fun activities, including the most memorable New Year’s Eve watching the ball drop at Times Square (decorum, safety, curfew and weather all got in the way of that one—and she was probably expected to ring in the new year with her family, too).

So, Kay called—with big news. Her aunt from Florida had died and Kay had been named co-executor of the estate. She was one of six relatives who would be dividing the value of the aunt’s condo and contents.

Kay talked about the problems that have ensued among the relatives as they argue why they should be allowed to have certain items or be given extra money instead of material things that have no meaning for them.

It was entertaining to hear Kay moan about the behavior of her relatives and the things she said to them in no uncertain terms.

“Make sure you have a will, Col,” she said, “and specify what you want each of your kids to have.”

I laughed out loud.

“My kids aren’t going to want any of our crap!” I said with certainty.

“Don’t be so sure,” she said.

I promised to check with Ben, Rozee and Maddie so I e-mailed them that night.
Kay said I should make sure we have a will and say who should get what so you guys won’t fight about it later on. I just laughed and said you guys wouldn’t want any of our crap. (She thinks you are all remarkable wonderful children who wouldn’t fight over stuff anyway, but she was warning me that people get nutty over material things). So that made me wonder if there is anything you guys would want. Probably, you are all too young to even think about something like that, but I just wondered.

The really important question is, who wants the dryer lint collection and the little jar of finger nail clippings?

Ben and Maddie e-mailed back promptly the next morning; both had hit the Reply All button.

“Nothing really comes to mind right now,” said Ben.

“Yeah,” agreed Maddie.

Rozee never weighed in. I called her, afraid she’d fallen to some sort of New Orleans catastrophe.

“You never answered that e-mail about what you’d want,” I said.

“There wasn’t anything different to say,” she said. “I can’t think of anything I want.

“You wouldn’t want...” I looked around the room “…my wild woman doll?” I asked, slightly incredulous.

My wild woman cloth doll is one of my prized possessions. She hangs on a wall in the living room, watching over those who watch TV. Her black and white striped legs hang from a triangular body painted in splashes of color atop bands of purple, green, yellow, black and red fabric. Her black and white polka dot arms stick out from her sides. She wears the tiniest pair of bejeweled sunglasses. She’s totally cool.

I displayed her at the library a few years ago and maybe two people ever said anything in appreciation of her uniqueness, her colorfulness, her quirkiness, her craftsmanship, her 45-rpm record hat.

“You really don’t want my wild woman?” I asked again.

“Well, that’s not the sort of thing you’d put in a will,” Rozee said.

A few days later, I e-mailed Ben and Maddie, telling them what Rozee said and asking if they were interested in the doll.

“I’d be OK without it,” said Maddie.

Ben skirted the question: “I don’t really think we would fight over anything. We’re all pretty reasonable.”

“Is that a diplomatic way of saying you don’t want the wild woman doll either?” I asked.

Badger them until they relent. That’s my  child-rearing policy.

Ben could see where this was going—and he was nipping it in the bud.

“Yes, he e-mailed back. “That’s the only thing I want.”

So, I guess Rozee and Maddie can battle it out for who gets the dryer lint and finger nail clippings.

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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