Monday, November 7, 2011

Sentimental or Silly?

I just had my dining room chairs recovered. Supposedly the material is able to withstand a full-scale assault of spaghetti sauce and chocolate. Durable was my primary criteria. The chairs are from my mother's house. I inherited the dining room; my sister took the living room set. Mom had "good" furniture, well-made and built to last forever. But I confess I didn't like the chairs as a kid, still not crazy about them as an adult. But recovering them was lots cheaper than replacing them with new, so it was an easy decision.

In other words, despite the fact that they are from my beloved mother, the original Evelyn, I could care less if I have the chairs, buffet, and table. I have no sentimental attachment to them. On the other hand, I have a slightly chipped, green square platter that I bring out for every special occasion because I remember my mother used it constantly when I was growing up. I love that platter and I could move from our house into a one-room apartment, and the platter would come with me.

This has all been swirling around in my head since several of my friends have recently downsized. Furniture, china, silver, have all found new homes or been donated to worthy charities. Got me to thinking about sentiment, what resonates, what doesn't.

Needless to say, every handscribbled note from my kids and husband, parents and sister, is a treasure which is tossed into an ever-increasing group of boxes marked, MEB Memorabilia. But I'm not sure why I have moved my father's old lawbooks to each of our five houses, since the man never practiced law. Still, he moved them cross-country when he made the decision not to be an attorney, so I keep thinking if they meant something to him, I should continue to schlep them around.

When we were breaking up Mom's apartment, my husband reminded me that none of the "stuff" was the essence of my mother. He's right, of course. But it's not only that I get comfort from seeing these familiar items on special occasions, but I feel like Mom, Dad, and my sister are actually with me, enjoying the moments that I know they would have cherished. So when Riley, my first granddaughter was being born, while sitting impatiently in the hospital waiting room, I would check the watch that my Dad gave my mother. It's the equivalent of an old Timex, but on my wrist, I had the two of them with me to share the joy.

Not sure if it makes sense – and maybe sentiment doesn't have to be rational. But this Thanksgiving, if you're at my house, help yourself to some turkey. It's on the green platter, of course.

Stiletto Faithful – are you sentimental? What's your green platter equivalent?


Brianna Sullivan Mysteries - e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Lottawatah Twister - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

Sullivan Investigations Mystery - e-book series
Murder Off the Books Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Riley Come Home (short story)- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

Love Lessons - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords


  1. For me, it's Christmas ornaments. I have several that my mom gave me from when my sister and I were kids. Every holiday season I unwrap them and think about all the Christmases (is that a word?) from years gone by and I get a sentimental lump in my throat :)

  2. I have been accused of being not sentimental at all (hoarders vs purgers, anyone?) but I do have a scarf in my lingerie drawer (well, it's a collection of giant bras and panties with no elastic, but that's my definition of "lingerie") that belonged to my grandmother. A picture of her wearing that scarf sits on the bookshelf behind my desk. If I had only time to grab one thing from the house, it would be that. Lovely post, Marian. Maggie

  3. Oh, Marian, you made me flash back onto my mom and dad's big house and how crammed it was with furniture that my mom had collected through the years PLUS things from my grandmother's house that Mom couldn't part with, even if the pieces were tipped sideways and upside down (and warping) in the basement. It took a lot to get her to let go so that they could down-size by 1,000 square feet. Now she says to me with pride, "I can't believe how well everything we have fits in this house with only a smidge to spare." I'm like Maggie: I don't really get too attached to things. But I do have my grandfather's Omega watch that he wore all the time (in a tin with my handkerchief from his funeral and a fortune from a cookie that says "all is not lost"). I have a ruby glass paperweight on my desk from the 1904 World's Fair that belonged to my great (or perhaps, great-great) uncle. There are a few other assorted bits and pieces but nothing big. Sometimes it's the little things that are the most precious. I have a feeling your green platter will be getting lots of use with the holidays coming up! ;-)

  4. I have a few special editions of books by people like Rayomond Carver, John Cheever, Dorothy Parket, and others.

    I have a pretty green glass bud vase that we had in the house for ages when I was growing up and a couple of Russian wooden spoons, candy dishes, and a nesting doll . . . I have some beach glass collected from the summer I spent going from the French to the Italian to the Spanish rivieras in the late 1980's . . . oh, and one special pair of earrings I got before moving back to the states from Paris. Just a few small things that have traveled well and fit in any home I've had.

    I like having memorable objects, but I really like the ones I can use best: I can read my books, I can put a flower from my garden in the vase and some candy in the Russian dish and I can wear my earrings. It seems to make them more worth storing when I use them at least now and then!

  5. Oops--in my post above I made a nasty typo--that's Dorothy PARKER, not Parket.

  6. Thanks Maria, Maggie, Susan, and Vicky. I am enjoying reading about those special mementos each of you cherish. Part of what we love about these objects is that they evoke such marvelous memories of times past.


  7. I have a three foot circular piece of lace that my great grandmother made when she was young-1880s or so. I also have a picture of grandmother crocheting. I could give up a lot of stuff but not those things. I also have a group of Native american artifacts-bowls, story teller dolls, because I really like the mythology they represent. Sort of a combination of the old and the new. Great post, lots of nostalgia and history there.

  8. Thanks Lil. What a wonderful keepsake from your Grandmother.


  9. The older I get the less I care about "things." Years ago as a newlywed I collected salt and pepper shakers and wherever I moved, putting out my collection made wherever we were living feel like home. I've then collected ceramic mushrooms getting them as gifts and some I bought while on trips. From mushrooms I went to clowns--accumulated so many I threw up my hands and said, "No More." Now I tell people please don't buy me anything.

    I'd like to say that all the photos we've accumulated give me much pleasure--but I don't look at them often. I figure when I'm so old I can't do anything else, that's when I'll really enjoy the photos--hope I can remember who everyone is.

    Good post.


  10. great post! thank you very much for sharing! i liked it!