In 2008, our household was in full pre-move mode with boxes, tape, magic markers, and multiple lists overflowing every room. Almost a decade after Julie died, my sons and I were leaving the dream house Julie and I had built in Bull Valley, IL
In the process of rummaging through drawers and cabinets to determine which items are move-worthy and which are destined to become an accretion on our local Waste Management landfill, I came upon the cache of Julie’s accessories and the pipe displayed above.
Most of Julie’s clothes, jewelry, and personal objects were given away long ago, and I don’t recall a single instance of her wearing any of the costume jewelry in that tray, some of which looks suspiciously like gifts from the kids during their preschool years. On the other hand, she was using that Coach wallet and the purse-sized day planner, its pockets filled with her then current insurance, social security, and credit cards, on an everyday basis before the final exacerbation of her cancer a few weeks before her death.
The antique pipe and case was her gift to me from the trip she took to England with a friend while I stayed home with the urchins.1 Even she admitted the pipe was an odd choice as “what did you bring me from your trip” present, but that makes it all the more significant to me.
I haven’t done any packing since I ran across this small lode of memories.
You’ve probably heard the bromide that love doesn’t end with the death of the loved one.
In any case, I can testify that it is incredibly, profoundly, intensely, painfully true.
Julie Showalter was the fiercely intelligent, sexy, and loving woman with whom I had a outrageously wonderful marriage that ended with her death in late 1999 from cancer diagnosed the week of our wedding nearly 20 years earlier. She was also a brilliant scholar, the mother of our two sons, and a prize-winning author. Many posts on this blog are about her and still others consist of her writings. Julie’s Story is the account of our unlikely romance, Information can be found at Julie Showalter FAQ.
Note: Originally posted Aug 21, 2008 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of AllanShowalter.com
- Yes, I was indeed once a saint. [↩]