Washing My Inheritance

My then soon-to-be-husband stated (3rd date, my Echo Park, Los Angeles apartment with the spectacular view I couldn’t afford without working 2 jobs, the last apartment I ever lived in alone): You have a lot of rocks.


I recommend the stacking method. So very Big Sur.

My Echo Park patio hosted rocks of all sizes, the largest, most impressive rocks inside–flanking the clawed-legs of my inherited piano, the clawed feet of my inherited bed (smashing my toes as I made for my inherited desk before the bedroom window and that spectacular view). Some rocks I placed around the inherited toaster oven, or the inherited tea kettle’s counter-spot, some decorated the back of the pink toilet and many were clustered on the apartment’s 2 windowsills. My favorite rock, Ms. Mesa, the rock with presence in any light, I kept next to my keyboard and desktop monitor (laptops weren’t a normal invention yet), where I could place a lit candle on Ms. Mesa’s mesa (often).


Ms. Mesa. I believe she likes her indoor palm frond forever kowtowing.

I inherited my rocks from my great aunt and uncle, retired Lockheed engineers living in a modest ranch house with a dazzling view of ocean spreading from Laguna Beach. Summers? They took my sisters and I on moonlit grunion runs, taught us the names of planets and stars, sipped 5 o’ clock martinis in patio chairs as they watched us hurl ourselves down the home’s backyard hill of cushy iceplant, cheered when we rolled to the vegetable garden below.

Our great-relatives patio was bordered in countless rocks. when our aunt and uncle died,  the rocks were a way for my sisters and I to remember our elders. Also their ashtrays from Ireland. But mostly the rocks. I loaded up (and will always wish I’d loaded more).

Last May, my personal little family moved. Our new digs are larger, prettier, and more fun. Most inherited rocks made the moving-cut–although we left a half-dozen or so behind–those by the rosemary and agave bushes, for instance, so seemingly ‘at home’ (I hope the new owners think so, too). There were still plenty of rocks to transport. What the hell is in here? my husband said, hefting a cardboard box into the moving van. Oh, he said, when I gave him a look. Of course, he said.


Only and best use for an Irish, inherited ashtray in a non-smoking house.

3 months after moving in, we’re still moving in. Many rocks remain in baskets, boxes, piled on the BBQ’s warming dish area.

What? I asked my husband when he returned from work last night. I was scrubbing rocks in our sink. Oh, nothing, he said and helped me dry.


All clean.



About PB Rippey

Writer, wife, mother, grateful. Fiction, memoir, poetry, kidlit (MG), member SCBWI. pbwrites.wordpress.com
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