Sunday, February 18, 2007

What They Mean To Me

I knew this Fun Monday assignment would prove very difficult. I am a collector...antiques, heirlooms, memorabilia, junk...whatever you want to call it....I collect it. Narrowing the assignment to just one object was impossible. The bulk of what I own is old, used, somewhat battered and most of it has a memory dear to my heart somewhere in its provenance. From my dad's last pair of cowboy boots that sit on a bench in my living room to my Granny W.'s complete set of "company" dishes that she bought from a peddler...and let's not forget my Grandpa T.'s garden hoe that is worn so thin and sharp that it is like a horizontal knife with an extra long many items full of sentiment reside in and around my home. And while the objects themselves are dear, the memories they evoke are even more precious.

All the quilts in this picture were hand pieced and quilted by either my Granny W. or my Granny T. My baby quilts are hanging on the back of the rack. The two predominantly green quilts were high school graduation gifts. The quilt on the bed was made by Granny W. and holds an extra special place in my heart. Every print quilt piece was cut from a dress I wore as a little girl. I'll have to take a better picture of it to post in the future because it truly is a work of the heart. The little black lamb on the window sill was a gift from my godmother when I was born. And the two cats on the bed are dear feline friends who have moved on to kitty heaven. This picture was taken in the late 80's in my apartment in Salisbury, Maryland.

This is a corner of my current bedroom. My dad made the benches out of wood from our old barn. The birdhouses are hand-made. I found the sewing notions and thread chest in a local antique store. I keep jewelry in it. I got the chest of drawers at an auction for $65.00. I stripped two awful layers of paint from it to arrive at its lovely natural finish.

It was a sad time when my uncle began to tear down my grandparent's fine old farmhouse. My dad salvaged a lot of wood from the old house. He made several of these little benches from Granny's yellow painted kitchen cabinets. It means so much to have many things that my dad made from wood. He was an exacting craftsman. It is like icing on the cake to know the wood is from structures in which I spent countless hours of my childhood.

A shrub may not actually be an object, but this forsythia has special meaning because it grew from a root of my Granny W.'s forsythia. I am so thankful that I dug that root. The original shrub was destroyed when Granny's house was torn down and a new home was built in its place. I now have three more forsythias in my yard taken from roots of this shrub. I love that continuity; that something my Granny planted and cared for thrives in my own piece of the earth.

I got this old rattan chair at an auction. You may see it as a piece of junk, but I saw it as a nice addition to my herb garden. My parents and I used to go to auctions every weekend. Dad just loved to "wheel and deal." The garlic chives blooming so nicely in front of the chair came from the herb garden of my mom's friend. In fact, the beginnings of my whole garden came from that same woman. Continuity.

These are just a few of the many 'objects' that hold special meaning for me. I have a deep love and appreciation for all things old. We discard and and replace things too easily in our modern world. Sadly enough, we tend to treat old people that way too. There is a line from the movie Seabiscuit that sums up how I feel. It goes something like don't throw something away just because it is a little beat up. It still has some use to it and besides it's just nice to look at.

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Blogger Pamela said...

I have a sis in law that collects old things. Her house is like an antique shop. She has hats and bears and things like that.

I'd like to come visit your house, and get down on my knees and weed under the old chair in the herb patch.

1:46 AM  
Blogger Beccy said...

I love the quilts and the fact that the one was made from your old dresses. How nice that your Dad was able to make stuff from the wood from your Grandmothers house.

3:42 AM  
Blogger The very nice man said...

Way beyond the call of duty!!
Nice post!

5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What beautiful "junk"! And so many memories. I'll never feel bad about hanging on to stuff again.
Don't you dare let Pamela weed under that chair.

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely post!

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

I'm a collector too. Love, love, love your stuff.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Robin said...

Perhaps my favorite of your favorite things are the benches your dad made--it's kind of like getting "two for the price of one" because of the origin of the wood. Your home is like a museum, almost every corner "speaks" to you.

GREAT memories, thanks for sharing so much of yourself :).

10:17 AM  
Anonymous vicki said...

Ahh your house looks peaceful, lived in, loved in.

I too enjoy gardening and I have berry bushes from my Great Grandmother's garden. Other people tried to transplant them but they always died. I tried and it worked. I like to think they chose me. =)

10:17 AM  
Blogger Amy W said...

I love your stuff. I salvaged a beautiful hutch from my grandmother's house before it was auctioned off.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Swampwitch said...

A-h-h-h, more family heirlooms and treasures...the quilts tell such a story. I have quilts that my mom and both grandmothers made. Each block reminds me of an old dress or flour sack. I also have barn wood from my past. Thanks for taking me down memory lane today.
For some reason, I can't post with "other" so I'm using my old BloggerBooger account.

2:36 PM  
Blogger ChrisB said...

I think I would absolutely love your house and garden. Those quilts are very beautiful and all those memories tied up with each treasure. This is a lovely post.

2:54 PM  
Blogger mjd said...

All of your precious items are lovely, but you are right in saying, "And while the objects themselves are dear, the memories they evoke are even more precious."

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Karmyn said...

I love the forsythia. I have a Hydrangea cutting I took from my grandparent's house before my grandfather died and my grandma was taken to an Alzheimer's home. It has made two moves. Plants are JUST as special as anything else sometimes!

4:26 PM  
Blogger willowtree said...

Phew! Am I glad I didn't miss seeing you this time. That is all magic stuff. And just so you know, I'd be interested in seeing more details of the quilts.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Tiggerlane said...

Do you have a photo of you in the dress, before it was rejuvenated in quilt-form?

I love that the things in your home all have special meaning - it's not like a cold, furniture showroom house...I sometimes wonder how people can live in "sterile" conditions, with no loveworn objects to surround them.

(BTW, thanks again for the sign - it receives MANY comments - everyone loves it!)

9:41 AM  
Blogger Devon said...

I love anything that has character built through age. I only have a few pieces from my family, but treasure them.

BTW, I ordered the latest Libera cd and can't wait to get it! Thanks for the great post!

10:13 PM  
Blogger gawilli said...

Objects that have a life of their own are the best, and even better when their life is entangled with ours! We have favorites also, but to others I am sure they would not be so important. It is truly the story that makes them so. Thanks for sharing!

8:52 PM  
Blogger LeftCoastOnlooker said...

amazing memories - I love the way you share these.
I'm sad to say I have misplaced, in the course of the last 3 moves, my g-ma's quilt pieces. I refuse to believe they could be missing.

8:53 PM  

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