Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's the little things

As I walked thru the living room of my small house today I began to mentally sort thru my things. Seems it's that time pack up and haul my life to a new locale. Mind you, I'm fairly expert at this game...tho as the years go by, the sorting and ditching gets more difficult. Living a good life will do that to ya!

I've never been much of a collector but one of my choice 
things is considered such. There is the set of 10 numbered Lenox/ Boehm plates that became my special,annual Christmas gift beginning in 1973.Way back then, they had to be ordered in advance and purchased thru a fancy-schmancy jewelry store even tho we lived within a few miles of the main Lenox factory. Each year, I knew what was inside the gift wrapped box and yet, I excitedly opened the new edition and felt like I owned something coveted.           

The first plate arrived 3 years before our first child. For a long time our houses were sparsely furnished and we moved frequently. Whether we lived in an old military row house, a well-worn rental or eventually the house we built new, the plates were displayed with pride. At first it was a plate here or there decoratively hung on a wall. As our family and belongings grew, the plate collection did too. They were moved to more prominent places, enhancing the beautiful hutch alongside Great Grandmothers' antiquities that were passed down to me. I believed they would one day be worth a mint. However, valuable enough, with the introduction of eBay, no longer are the plates impossible to find. More now than ever, their true worth is calculated in sentimental dollars. Today they are truly priceless.

    Along with the plates is the painting that no-one in the family quite remembers. In all honesty, I don't recall when I actually acquired it but I do know it was another treasure from my very victorian great-grandmother. Seems that back in the 1920's or 30's, "ladies of position" did various things to educate themselves and increase their worldliness. Great Grandmother took a class in oils or so it seems. This may be the only painting she did that was worth framing.  (well, we believe she painted it for it's not signed)  Forever, I have loved it for it's simplicity and primitive allure. I've used it in many different rooms...even my little bath, that today is quite fancy. It always seems to refine wherever it hangs.

Finally, two winters ago, I carefully bubble-wrapped it and tucked it into my suitcase to take to a man in Boston who specializes in primitive art. Having visited his fine antiques shop often, we had become friendly and he invited me to bring it along on my next visit for a free evaluation. He was thrilled that it had been cherished and told me the rendering was probably of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland....but sadly, he said, the value was purely sentimental. That, there is no disputing. Just today, I finally googled the Cliffs of Moher and low and behold, the chills that went thru me as I saw pictures of what Great Grandmother felt moved to paint!

It's been too many years since I've lived near my children and extended family. Work will often take us away from the faces and places we love. Seldom are the people I hold close able to come and visit for it's a long haul, I suppose. Tho I am surrounded by the things that unwittingly made our house a home, I am once again in touch with why they remain important. Pieces of the past transcend time and place, forever become the fabric of our personal patchworked life. When deciding to pack away the Lenox Wildlife plates, I casually mentioned them to my now grown-up daughter. She has her own style and her own sentiments, new and old. I wondered if she would like them, expecting her nonchalance. Instead, imagine my joy when she said,  "Mom! I would love them! They were always part of our home."

Things. Just things. So we may think....until the day comes when we load up the rooms with boxes and paper and tape in preparation for another move, another chapter. That's when every little scrap of paper, silly do-dad, or heartfelt memento has meaning or.....not so much. But the process is cathartic and the real job is in deciding where the sentiment lies. My son is equally sentimental tho I have no idea what will be dear to his heart. I'm sure, as I ever-so-gently tuck away the past, at some point I will hear him say, "Mom! I would love that! It was always part of our home."

As you prepare your next move or begin to re-design, have fun going thru the bits and pieces of your life. Take care to choose wisely when deciding what stays and what goes. Most of all,'s the little things that matter most.    

   Suite 24 is ready to help you make those tough choices when bringing your room to life...and in bringing your life into the room!

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