Selling the Family
Nancy Kay Peterson, author
Selling the Family shares the reflections of a sole surviving family member as she sorts several generations of belongings for a final estate auction, a quintessential experience in rural America. The poet recounts the deaths of her immediate family and watches an auctioneer's staff organize the sale of what to the family were thoughtfully acquired possessions collected over several lifespans. She sees childhood treasures tossed together for bundled bids, her father's WWII memorabilia appraised, gifts given laid out for re-sale, unsaleable household goods thrown into the trash. While the story is melancholy, it's telling is honest, rather than sentimental, cathartic, rather than debilitating, and ends, as it must, on a thin note of joy and gratitude for the love once shared.