Two years ago I ordered a bottle of wine at my favorite Italian restaurant in Olympia, Washington and was surprised that the “cork” was made of glass. It’s a small pleasure, but I delight in using it to cork my bottles of wine at home. I still buy that wine whenever I visit Clare in Olympia, then give the stoppers away.
Two years ago I thought I needed a “work horse” instead of a manageable-sized laptop so I requested an upgrade at work and the request was granted. As soon as I picked it up (in both senses) I regretted my decision. This thing weighs almost 9 lbs. I requested a smaller model yesterday afternoon. I won’t miss the old one at all.
Because I was there and I have seen the photograph that this painting is based on, I never thought that I looked like an alien until someone pointed it out to me. I was just happy that I could cross “be painted by an artist” off my to-do list. This hangs in the guest room. I hope it doesn’t create nightmares.
Ashtray seems to be too common a label for this heavy glass object. It was on display in the living rooms of Grandma Green’s homes. I used to love to touch its cool, smooth, shiny surface. It was probably used, but I don’t remember ever seeing ashes or cigarette butts in it. It now sits on a bookshelf in my home.
Because it matched the mirror, I pictured this ceramic ashtray sitting on Grandma’s vanity holding an ever-present Viceroy while she applied her makeup. I gave it to Clare and told her its history. After Clare moved out I assumed she’d taken it but when clearing out her room, I found it in pieces and I can’t seem to let it go.
Aunt Ginny gave me a mirror that belonged to her mother. I’ve always avoided looking into it, thinking I may see the face of my grandmother peering back out at me. I imagine that, not so many years from now, that will be the case. I already see my mom when I look in a mirror, it will be Grandma soon.
When the neighbors asked me to check their mailbox while they were away I had every intention of doing so but must have been into a good book. I asked Kevin if he would do it and promised him whatever I received for the job. Imagine my ten-year-old brother’s disappointment when the flower arrangement in the girl’s head vase was delivered.
We were clients from hell when we were shopping for a house in Bethesda. We toured scores of houses and found nothing we liked until we walked into the back room of the house on Hoover Street. “This is the one,” I said to Dean. He agreed. It was the wall of windows that sold us. We stopped looking that day.
When Aunt Corrine moved into her sister’s house she did a purge of much of Aunt Leila’s things. One was this wooden wall hanging duo, a waxing crescent moon with a staircase and a star. She knew I loved it so she presented it to me one Christmas. Dean put it up; I think the star should be nearer the moon.
This lamp used to be in the spare bedroom off the dining room in Grandma Green’s Elgin house. Mom got it when my grandparents moved to Chetek. Mom gave it to me because she knew I loved it, even though it was broken. The lamp repairman said he’d seen a lot of lamps in his career but never one like this.
This spur-of-the-moment purchase turned out to be a treasure. Dean thinks my solar-powered rainbow maker is tacky but I love it. I sent one to my mother, well into her dementia, and every time she saw the rainbows on the wall, even her final month when little brought her joy, her face would light up and she’d wistfully say, “Oh yeah.”
I belong to a book subscription service. Every two months I receive an autographed copy of a newly published book in a special book sleeve, a booklet about the book and author, and an extra goodie. While I like the books, I think I am really in it for the goodie. Just like Cracker Jacks, it was all about the prize.
My brother doesn’t understand my political beliefs and I certainly don’t understand his. After the disastrous election of 2016 we decided to not talk politics with each other. These elephant and donkey decanters belonged to our Grandma and Grandpa Green. We found them at Mom’s when we were clearing out and I insisted Kevin take the elephant and I take the donkey.
“When you get married I will crochet you doilies too,” whispered ninety-five year-old Great Grandma Nielsen to twelve year-old me. I remember thinking that she thought she was going to live a very long time. While she died well before I married, I didn’t miss out on her crocheted doilies. I found a boxful in Mom’s attic.
Marie once joked that she was redecorating our house. That was okay because we loved her whimsical style. We still have nearly everything that she gave us, and most of it is on display including this heart with two birds wall decoration. Other items from Marie include three boxes (bunnies, fairytale and wooden), bird feeder (ceramic), hanging key holder (in use!).
For a school assignment when the kids were in grade school we counted all the books in our house. The result was close to 4000. That’s a lot but this included hundreds of picture books that the kids eventually grew out of and were given away. We’re down to less than half that now and some of our bookshelves look depressingly empty.
Neal and Marie received it as a wedding present then they gave it to us then we gave it to my mom. Mom kept it next to her pretend fireplace. We brought it back home, ostensibly for Andrew, but grew attached to it as it crouched on the hearth in the living room. Is the mouse a friend or future snack?
It all started when Rupert came to America to have adventures with us. It’s becoming ridiculous.
Left to right: Oly the Roly-poly Hedgehog, Orinoco the Womble, Chum the Pixie, Rupert the Bear, JW Austin the Bat. Not pictured: the wandering Octopus in a top hat and a multitude of other friends in the large Rubbermaid container.
Memories of this most handy kitchen gadget include:
- Mom opening a stubborn jar of pickles
- Dad popping the cap off a bottle of Schlitz
- Me using the smaller end to pry open a tin of Nestle’s Quick
- The satisfying phuup of the vacuum seal breaking
It was the first thing I took when I knew Mom was never going back home.
Until I watched the television series Mad Men I didn’t give these glasses a second thought. While these Libbey® Silver Leaf Frosted lowball glasses may not have made an appearance on the show, their (now faded) silver trim reminded me of the glassware on the show. I do remember them making appearances at Mom and Dad’s Mad Men era parties though.
Family legend is that during the depression one of Dad’s uncles was homeless. He was also an etcher of glass and if someone let him stay the night in their home he’d give them an etched juice glass as a way of saying thanks. Mom and Dad ended up with a set of 8 of these tiny, beautiful glasses. One remains unetched.
I wanted mom’s long-stemmed etched wine glasses, but wanted the hobo juice glasses even more. Kevin said he’d take the wine glasses to have something to fill the china cabinet. After the estate sale, when I didn’t see them in the china cabinet in his dining room, I asked Kevin where he put the wine glasses. “What wine glasses?” he asked.
My mom somehow came into the possession of a beautiful antique walking-stick. It is made out of strong metal and wrapped in leather. I thought it was just an old walking stick until I googled it. It turned out to be an “iron & stacked leather self-defense walking-stick”. She once told me that Larry gave her a weapon. This must be it.
1977. Leeds Playhouse, Leeds, England. A British art student and part-time usher at the playhouse accompanies his naive, unsophisticated American fiancée to a screening of That Obscure Object of Desire. She doesn’t understand the film despite the English subtitles. She only wonders if maybe the male lead actor needed glasses because he seemed unaware that his love interest was two different women.
This object is rarely more than 5 feet away from me. It is the portal to a large part of my world. It is a window to my past. It entertains me. It alerts me. It guides me. It gives me access to some places. It educates me. It annoys me. Recent studies indicate it probably won’t kill me. It’s my phone.
A bald, bearded man dressed in a green robe, gripping a staff and carrying a large, long-necked bird stares at me from the wall by the window in my office. Before staring at me he stared at Mom from the wall in her living room. Prior to that he stared at Grandma from dining room walls, first in Elgin, then Chetek.
A 36 tablet-sized Excedrin® bottle, half-filled with fine-grain sand sits on my desk. Over a month ago I found it in a box of things I wanted to keep. I don’t know where the sand came from. A beach obviously, but which beach and why did I keep it? More importantly, why am I keeping it now, and why on my desk?
Except for maybe a partially completed cross stitch and possibly an ugly long-sleeved shirt, I am down to one unicorn. The last unicorn figurine. I don’t know where it came from. It is different from the other unicorn figurines that I owned: this one is ceramic whereas the others were crystal. I think I will keep it, just for the memories.