Rodney was setting up my new iPhone 6. (Lord, help me.)
While there, I wandered past my old office. I had an office at Farbman Group for about 30 years, in Troy and then in Southfield, MI. Since cancer, aleha hasholom (Hebrew for R.I.P.), I began writing on my laptop from home—wherever home was at the moment. But my old office remained, with my old files and books and photos.
Several months ago, an exec with the company suggested in the gentlest way that since I hadn’t used my office for several years, I might consider moving out. No rush. Whenever I could manage.
Our long-time, capable, exec assistant Denise had retired. Her capable successor, Sandra, volunteered to help. The first day, I got through about 4 files in 2 hours. Each reminded me of some person I had met or a cool house I had scouted and/or photographed for a story in Detroit Monthly magazine or, later, Better Homes and Gardens and other publications. And then there were the countless hours I spent in that office working on my first book and the numerous drafts that resulted.
It took three tortuous days to clear out that office. Dear Sandra stuck by me through the tears and stories. I felt as though I were cutting out chunks of my life. Finally I gave Sandra some vague directions and let her finish the job. What I couldn’t bear to part with, like the magazine covers featuring my stories which my mother had framed, now resides in boxes in a closet in our house.
As I visited this time, I could see that “my” office now showed only one sign of my occupancy: A grey metal bookend in the shape of a hand supported someone else’s books. Someone else’s papers lay on the desk. I choked up again.
Also because that same morning Burton had accompanied our grandsons to an orchard to pick pumpkins, and I remembered taking their daddy, in elementary school, to do the same thing. And because in the lobby of Farbman Group offices is a banner featuring several buildings and a photo of son Andy, along with the words “Over 35 Years.” And because in the last 2 months, on this blog, I’ve written eulogies for two friends, both my age.
Time doesn’t creep up on us, it races. Enjoy every stride.
I could put words together for lifetime and never say it better than William Wordsworth:
Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower, we will grieve not; rather find strength in what remains behind.