Classic Style Using Authentic Treasures

It's all about living an AUTHENTIC life, being true to who we are and finding beauty and inspiration in our daily surroundings. Decorating our homes with found items and antique and vintage treasures, we create a personal ~ classic style ~ that defines who we are!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Special Delivery ~ Handle With Care

Boxes, so many boxes,
full of a lifetime of living and loving.

My dad passed away in 2000 at the age of 69, 
leaving my 65 year old mother 
alone at what was to be their retirement golden years.

It hasn't been easy for her.

In the last few weeks, my sister and I 
have had the bittersweet experience 
of placing my mom in an assisted living facility.  

Mom's memory 
just isn't what it needs to be 
to live a safe daily life.

And so the decision was made, 
with mom agreeing, to give it a try.

As we were planning what needed to be packed 
to move her from her 3500 square foot house 
to a 500 square foot apartment, 
she knew she wouldn't be coming back.
She decided she wanted my siblings 
and me to go ahead and start packing up 
all the things we were supposed to inherit 
and anything else we wanted.  

I suppose ~
it was her way of disconnecting 
from what used to be her life.  

Through the years she has marked items 
with post it notes, written on the backs of pictures, 
put stickers under collectibles ~ 
preparing for what lay ahead. 

None of us thought mom would be there, 
watching us pack up her life ~
all the while telling us about each piece 
and its family significance.

 Wondering what's inside this worn out box?

 All the family recipes shared over the years 
from both my grand mothers, 
aunts, cousins, friends
and of course my mom.

I love the hand written recipes ~
some of them 60 years old or older.

The traditional pumpkin bread recipe passed down 
through three generations
or my grandmother's apple butter 
wouldn't taste the same 
without using the flour sifters 
or galvanized sieve my mom used to use.

 Then there's all the vintage aluminum! 
I love it and have collected some of my own over the years. 

My mom broke the handle on the cake save back in the fifties ~ so my grand father took it out to his workshop and replaced it with an old glass drawer pull!  I don't care if it is dented or banged up....I'd keep it over a sterling silver one any day!

She was adamant 
that she did not want family heirlooms
to remain in the house with no one home. 

And so I sit here tonight 
looking at stacks of boxes 
filling up my dining room and living room.

Buttons from 50 years of marriage,
Marbles from my grand fathers and my father,
  Clay marbles found during construction of the 1996 Olympic buildings in downtown Atlanta that date back to the mid 1800's!

My mother and both my grand mothers saved things ~ 
everything ~

Can you imagine having a silver plate urn full of cigarettes 
and a fancy lighter on your coffee table?  

My parents didn't even smoke, 
except for the occasional pipe my dad smoked. 
  I guess it was just cool to have on 
display during that "Mad Men" era, 
just in case a neighbor stopped by for a cigarette!
They have been stored away for decades!

Some of my fathers items 
had been left untouched in his workshop.

It was like a time warp.  
So I picked up some of his little tools
and packed them in a metal box and a cigar box....

~ "things" he held and touched and used often.  


 I will do something special with them at some point, 
but for now, the boxes hold them for me.

Every time we would have a family dinner, 
mom would serve the food in her collection 
of depression glass bowls, 
from both sides of our family. 

She would tell us about Grand mama's Heisy bowl, 
or the Fostoria pieces or Sandwich Glass ~

~ or my grand mother's spooner or the Fenton hobnail mustard pot.

She grew up using them and they were precious to her,
just as they are precious to me now.

 ~ and so 
there are many treasures
and many blog posts to share in the future.

It has been an emotional time moving mom, 
but in the last few days as
I have unpacked just some of the boxes, 
I am overwhelmed with the fact that these "things",
represent my life, my parents, my family.

Mom's short term memory is failing, 
but she still remembers a lot from the past.

I hope and pray that she doesn't lose all her memory.

I will pay special attention and intently listen 
to the same stories I've heard over and over again...
as one day, they may not be there!

And then these boxes, 
full of memories,
will be all there is!

Boxes, so many boxes ~
full of a lifetime of living and loving!

Live your AUTHENTIC life ~ be the REAL you!




Sister Patty said...

Love boxes... Wonderful post, Martha! I had to pack up my mom and dad's stuff in 1995 after they died. Fifty boxes, I think. Fifty boxes still downstairs... every so often I open one, go through everything one-by-one, an hour or so passes... and back in the box it goes. Someday I'll do more than just go through them. Love boxes...

Unknown said...

I am in love with your blog! I wanna take pictures like you when I grow up

Kate Dickerson said...

What a nice post, on so many levels! I just wanted to tell you I use my old silver cigarette urns for mini flower arrangements placed around the dining table. They are also great on a guest room bedside table or powder room sink!

Also, I did a post a couple of years ago on my recipe file, with treasures in handwriting of different family members - many of whom are now long gone. I think you might enjoy it:

Best, Kate D.

Mairie said...

What a treasure of memories - how special they all seem.A million miles from the modern 'whatever's this year's fashion. i don't know how you will bear to part with them. Good to share out whilst your mom can see you getting enjoyment out of them though.
love m+x

Martha at Authentica said...

Patty...boxes...that is my life..load, pack, store the boxes, fill them up again...ha ha...

Retreaux are too funny...I use a regular digital camera...nothing fancy...on AUTO FOCUS!

Kate, thank you so much, I read your blog and the one on organizing your file...not sure I will organize mine...whether by recipe or will be a fun thing to do.

Mairie...that's the problem, I won't be able to part with any of will all just get passed down to my kids...someday!

Blessings all!

entirely apropos said...

Wonderful post, Martha! Your loving thoughts are heart warming, your photography makes me swoon!
Thanks for sharing.....

LaPouyette said...

Oh Martha - I'm deeply touched. That's all I can say at the moment.

This post - a honor to your Mother.

I have to read it again for several times for not missing a single detail.
Now, I'm thinking of our Mom who left us in 94, far too early and I miss her! Still have some boxes, nearly untouched.
Take care and you are in my mind my friend.

Linda Magro said...

Your post about your parents really resonated with me. My mother was also a great storyteller, and I listened to her stories about her life over and over again. She has been gone for about 11 years now, and unfortunately, some of her stories and their wonderful details, are starting to fade from my I urge you to have your mom tell her stories again and again while you record them. I wish I had thought of that!! xoxo

Martha at Authentica said...

Linda~Thank you! It is such a bittersweet time! There are already bits and pieces slipping away...wish I had written them down years ago! :)
Thank you for taking the time to comment! It always makes a difference! Blessings, Martha

MJ said...

What a beautiful post Martha. You are so lucky to have all of those family memories with you forever. You can then pass them on. I have a huge love for family history and heirlooms. I love all the pics and every item in them.

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