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My family spent this weekend helping my wife's parents prepare for the move from their home in Elmhurst to a nearby retirement facility.

Ably managed primarily by my sister-in-law, copious amounts of clothes, dishes, papers, photographs, silverware, electronics and crockery were packaged into boxes and bags. Much went to us, to other relatives, neighbors, street browsers and the Salvation Army; reducing a house into an apartment is inevitably a move based on shrinkage.

The home itself has been sold to a developer. It will be knocked down and something – hopefully something tasteful – erected in its place.

So our weekend was the last time we will spend time there; as of Tuesday, the last time anyone will live there.

Everyone was too busy, it seemed, to give much voice to the thoughts that this move must be bringing up. I found myself drifting into a strange sense of displaced nostalgia, for this was not my deep personal history but that of those close to me. Still, I have been visiting there for occasional weekends and holidays for about 17 years, so it has plenty of meaning. But, in this case, less so of the home itself, and more of the people associated with it. This is somewhat unusual (but not exceptional) for me; certain buildings and places take on deeper resonances than others. It usually takes time to divine exactly how much, and it is too soon to judge clearly here.

At the very least, though, the weekend brought the considerable pleasure of doing something useful. But I will be glad that next weekend will be a more lazy affair.

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