Saturday, March 01, 2008

reassembeling the past

Last month I participated in Barb's (Woof Nanny) purse project challenge which was to make a bag from vintage linens (curtains, dresser scarf, tablecloth, etc). I thought it would be easy but I just couldn't seem to think of the right bag for the linens I'd designated for cutting. Then recently I came across a towel that looked like ones we had when I was growing up. A lovely teal blue and avocado green brocade. I forked over $2.00 for it and brought it home washed it and then used it as a lap blanket for a while. I wasn't going to cut into this piece of my past until I was sure I knew exactly what I wanted. It wasn't really a piece of my past but it was close enough.

When I first left home , I took very little with me. My( first) husband and I were building our boat. We lived in my mother in law's pool house for a couple of months until we were able to get the interior roughed in and move aboard. During this time my parents moved from their home in Southern California to North Carolina. There were lots of things that wouldn't be making the trip , linens, china , knicknacks. Since I lived on a 32' boat, I couldn't take anything, there just wasn't room. At the time I was working as a Buyer, a job where dressing trendy was required. Every extra inch of storage was filled . We had a rule, bring something new home, take something old out. Eventually the boat was finished, I quit my job and we spent more days at sea then in port ,so there was even less room for frivolous objects.

We finally settled in Hawaii and started building our home. I was building a new life and collecting things from the past didn't really matter to me. Living on an island I can tell you , there are no treasures tempting you at garage sales, no antiques waiting to be found. Everything is used until it disintegrates, or breaks beyond repair. I collected sea shells, sea glass and seeds. It wasn't until years later, after my divorce , after my parents had passed, that I wanted to surround myself with the familiar objects of my childhood and happier times. I had inherited some art , some jewelry but it was the every day hand me down objects I longed for.

Now I live in a place where thrift shops and white elephant sales are commonplace . I am slowly reassembling my past, piece by piece with kitchen wear, linens and fashion accessories of days gone by . They may only be replicas, but the memories they evoke are genuine.