To the editor: Reading Amy Goldman Koss' account of sorting through her late mother-in-law's belongings made me sad. For one thing, I read it on the anniversary of my father's death. ("When my mother-in-law died, cleaning her house quickly fell on me. I was not pleased," Opinion, Oct. 18)
My father, like Koss' mother-in-law, lost control at the end and collected Toby mugs. My father was born in London, which might explain the mugs. But why did Koss' mother-in-law like them? Did she travel to England? What were her interests during her very long life?
Koss is mum. I can't find one expression of fellow-feeling from Koss for the woman who also loved her husband. The mother-in-law's death — and I suspect her life — are inconveniences. Too bad.
I treasure the relics of the dead, including paperweights, inscribed books, costume jewelry and more. And I recall my leaden-hearted dismantling of my parents' home after my mother's death. Everything, even old checks, glowed with meaning, with memory, and gave me a faint but welcome sense of proximity to those I'd loved and lost.
Jo Perry, Studio City
To the editor: Not all mothers-in-law are created equal.
In 1946 I met my future mother-in-law, who had a reputation for being a tough and unloving person. She was the mother of one boy and of the Jewish faith — a person to contend with.
When I called to ask her son for a date, she took my message. He called back thanks to her insistence that he be polite, and the rest is history. For my 21st birthday, she gave me my husband's baby book and the bed jacket she had worn in the hospital at his birth. She trusted me until the day she passed away and said I was the best daughter a mother could have.
My husband and I were married for 65 years, and I remember fondly her treasured belongings and her care for us and her granddaughters. I still have her junk jewelry and, thanks to her business sense, the money she left to us, which has enriched our lives.
May all of us realize we are blessed even by people who are feisty.
Donna Rothman, Encino