When you merge households late in life there is a lot of stuff. Tom had been renting from a friend who was fine with him leaving furniture and kitchen items there. But he loved his super heavy Emeril pots and pans so they moved with him. Not a big deal except that my house, now our house, was 900 square feet and I had my mom’s set of Revere ware which I REVERED. It would surely be worth something on Antiques Road Show—it was at least 50 years old and was, did I mention, MY MOM’S!! Think of the hundreds of childhood meals that had been prepared in those pots and pans. They were still a little pretty—at least to me—with their black plastic handles and copper-ish bottoms. I’m sure they were on Mad Men. They were CLASSICS. Still, every time I went to grab one it had been shoved to the back of the overstuffed cupboard while front and center was the Emeril collection. They were newer, much heavier, had metal handles allowing for both stove top and oven use. Ok, objectively they were superior in every way—except they weren’t MY MOM’S!!!
I actually tried very hard to have a fight about this one day. I said something like, “Why do I feel like I’m being squeezed out of my own house?!?! Why are MY pots and pans always at the BACK?!?!” Tom, bless him, immediately recognized this as one of my many ridiculous moments and probably not really about the stated topic at all. I don’t actually remember what he said, but it was something calm, soothing and conciliatory that sucked the wind right out of my personal tsunami.
He was a guy who had accumulated a lot of things in 64 years. Our basement and garage, a friend’s barn and a storage unit were all stuffed to the gills and needed tending to. I had wonderful help from friends who actually knew what all those tools did. Many things were sold or given away. The Emeril collection stayed. Yesterday I was steaming veggies in it and walked away for too long. The pot ran out of water and was completely scorched. My Revere ware would’ve been a goner (I have experience here), but after a quick soak and scrub, Emeril was good as new. Someplace Tommy was chuckling. I’m glad I have his pots. I’m even gladder I have so many memories of spending time with him. He cooked in those pots on our first real date—the one where I started to fall in love. I’m not ready to let the Revere Ware go yet. But it may have to live in the back row.