I love visiting my sister. She has a knack for crafting and decorating using antiques and vintage items that she has acquired over the years from family members and by scouring antique shops with friends. What is really special is how she can recreate a special family memory by how she puts together pieces of people’s lives with the things most people have stored away in drawers and dusty boxes in basements and attics.
When you enter her home, you will find a coat rack which displays her husband’s boy scout uniform, the boy scout shirt worn by his mother when she was his den mother, and the four military jackets worn by her father-in-law, our father, her son-in-law, and our brother.
In her quiet room, she hung the railing from an antique baby bed on the wall and has it draped with various baby quilts along with her husband’s baby sleeper and knitted baby cap.
Sitting on the dresser, she has her mother-in-law’s bible, gloves, and sunglasses. Just waiting for her to come back from heaven and slip them on.
The guest bedroom includes this wall grouping of antique mirrors.
The guest bedroom window has a valance made from vintage women’s hankies mostly ones belonging to our grandmothers.
A shelf in the guest bedroom holds her mother-in-law’s Shirley Temple doll and her daughter’s first Cabbage Patch Kid doll. There are also some old toys and hat pins in the display.
On the antique dresser, she has a cake plate holding a Tiffany lamp along with a set of my maternal grandmother’s costume jewelry, her in-law’s wedding bands, hospital baby bracelets, a baby brush, and our paternal grandmother’s antique crochet hooks.
Perhaps some of my fondest memories come from seeing the little metal what-not in the corner of her dining room. It holds African violets and reminds me of the metal flower stand that held the same plants in my paternal grandmother’s home. Even though she lived near us when we were young, we visited her rarely, but when we did, I would sit and stare at these beautiful flowers. When she died, the casket that she had chosen included African violets painted on the sides.
My sister and I went through several boxes of old stuff from our long deceased relatives. There was a lot of religious memorabilia, copies of wills and clippings, the original Valedictorian speech written by my maternal grandmother, and a few more pictures. I am taking some of this stuff home to scan and preserve. I hope to transcribe the Valedictorian speech – I’m sure it will give us insights into my grandmother’s life and personality.
I don’t think you can truly appreciate things like this until you have lived for a while, but I hope that our children will come to love the memories that they generate as much as my sister and I do.