Almost four years ago, I myself downsized into an apartment in Riverdale. My three sons and I set about downsizing our belongings. Some things were easy to let go, but some toys, books and games were precious enough to be stored in my mother's storage locker in the building where she lives. Each son has a bin there as well, full of keepsakes. My hope, I guess, is that someday they or their children will be interested in these things. This process took enormous physical, emotional and cognitive effort, but it launched us into a welcome new phase of our lives. According to my oldest son, we now have the "comfiest apartment in Toronto!"
Some months ago, I helped clear out a one-bedroom apartment in a retirement residence. The mum had been moved to the "nursing wing," and her son John met with me to look at what was left and decide how to proceed. On the final day of the clear-out, behind a piece of furniture, I discovered a dusty old art portfolio and in that folder was some of John's childhood artwork, produced during the Second World War. This mum, who turns 102 this year, had been taking care of these particular things for at least 68 years, and John seemed, in his own modest way, happy to receive them, at our last meeting.