I finally finished looking through the boxes today. I had originally thought I could get rid of half of them. Ha! I have three boxes of books to be sold, and a box and a half of things for the auctioneer, but that leaves 30-mumble boxes taking up valuable space in my dainty living room. The box on the far left is nothing but cookbooks, including The One Maid Book of Cookery*, which used to belong to my grandmother and starts out “The conditions of living are fast changing, the number of gentle people living in flats with One Maid, or with no maid at all, is rapidly increasing. The One Maid Book of Cookery is specially written with a view to these modern conditions.”
You can almost hear the tone of horror with which the author wrote “with no maid at all” in 1913.
I have the same feeling about the boxes (or, as the cookbook writer might say, The Boxes). I keep looking over at them and being amazed all over again that they’re there. Every morning as I stumble past them/into them, I discover all over again that they have failed to vanish overnight, the way nightmares should.
*When I opened it to copy the preface, I found a file card in my father’s writing for Borscht Moskovski, and a slip of paper in his mother’s beautiful hand with recipes for rice pudding and spiced gammon. Also a newspaper clippings with recipes for cheese straws and oxtail stew. Available upon request.