Sunday, May 1, 2011


I am a packrat. NOT a hoarder (those people are frickin’ NUTS). But I do have a billion things tucked away here and there and everywhere. There is not a drawer, a cabinet, a closet or an attic (we have two, plus a backyard shed and a rental locker) in our house that isn’t crammed to capacity. I have so much stuff that, to my shame, I sometimes buy things that we already have. I vow repeatedly to organize things. That doesn’t happen much. Searching for something in my house is a little like Christmas – one is almost certain to serendipitously find some forgotten item.

Being in the midst of trip preparations, I’m doing a LOT of searching – looking for cosmetic bags, jewelry, those billions of trial-size shampoos and deodorants that fill Christmas stockings every year. And I found some lovely, forgotten things:

These were Bomo’s (my maternal grandmother). I remember coming upon these in her house when we helped Bubba sort things out after she passed away.

The two bigger ones are lingerie bags – back when lingerie was beautiful and delicate. When stockings were individual wisps of silk instead of the horrid cow-flop clump of pantyhose. When you peek inside you can see the smooth silkiness of the fabric – protection against snags:

I love the detail on this bag:

It makes me think of the days when traveling was an EVENT. You dressed up to ride a train, all your luggage matched and there was even a special bag just for your make-up, with a little mirror inside the lid. Everything had its own special bag or box or slot in a larger bag or box. There were jewelry rolls that helped your necklaces stay untangled (I could really use one of those) and SHOE BAGS (I made do with plastic grocery bags).

The smaller one is a tiny traveling sewing kit, complete with thread, pins and a threaded needle

That threaded needle is somehow so poignant to me. My Bomo threaded that needle. And you can tell that this WAS used. The set is pretty old, I think, but the thimble is just plastic, not Bakelite and the pins are fairly modern ones with round plastic tips.

I won’t be using any of this on my trip. I have department store make-up counter giveaways with zippers and plastic lining that are much more practical and I’m sure that if I tried to use that thread it would break in a second. So I tucked it all away to surprise me again some day. To remind me of my grandmother.

I found something else that I’d forgotten, that won’t be tucked away. How utterly sweet is this:

Impossibly tiny and delicate. And, except for a missing tea pot lid and a broken sugar bowl handle, complete.

One of the saucers with a quarter for scale:

One of the wee cups – all the handles intact:

I just love the sugar bowl and creamer:

I have no idea how old there are. I don’t know if they were Momma’s or Bomo’s (maybe Momma can chime in here if she knows). Here is the bottom of one of the saucers, if that gives a clue:

I do remember playing with these when I was a little girl. There was even a tiny wooden hutch to hold them with wee grooves in the shelves to hold the plates upright, just like the life sized one in my dining room. It’s funny, but as house proud and fastidious as she was, I don’t remember ever being forbidden to play with anything in my grandmother’s house. She had a tiny cast iron cookstove and miniature card games (I showed pictures of these in my May 22, 2010 blog post), books, dolls, etc. that I played with. And I don’t remember anything ever being placed out of reach or even being admonished to be careful.

Now that I’ve found the tea set again, I’ve set it out so I can see it. I’ve put it on a What-Not shelf that my granddaddy made (also shown in that May 2010 post):

Well, I’ve managed to while away a half a day on things over 50 years old that could have waited a few weeks longer to surface on here. But it’s right to recognize them and celebrate them. The things that I love the most in my house once belonged to someone else. Almost every item that my gaze lights upon reminds me of someone. From where I’m sitting now (the dining room table at which we ate dinner every night growing up) I can see Depression glass from my grandmother’s house, a painting that Momma and Ted brought me from Paris, the gorgeous painted wooden trays that sweet Rebecca let me win (even though I didn’t) on ebay, the mini sideboard that Mr. Kim surprised me with when I thought that we were only buying dining room chairs (I had fallen in love with the cunning thing when we were picking the chairs out at an antique mart in Salem, Virginia, but refused to let him buy it – it was delivered with the chairs the following week) – pictures of family and friends. Some of those pictures are of long passed people I never saw – but I know they are MINE anyway. So many things, so many memories. I vow to organize and weed out stuff, but how do you winnow out things like that? Well, being honest now, I admit I probably won’t. Not too much, anyway. I’ll leave it for The Child to do one day. She’ll keep what is meaningful to her and give away the rest. And I’m fine with that. I don’t believe in keeping things without meaning. Of course, I do have a corner of my attic that is stacked with paintings that my Aunt Mildred did when she took up oil painting late in life. And let me tell you, Aunt Mildred was NO Grandma Moses. They are truly terrible. My Grandma Jean (Momma’s stepmom) gave them to me. I kept them in case she ever came up from NC to visit. That is never going to happen now, I know. But those paintings are still up there. Why is that, I wonder?


  1. So charming and sweet---Third Time's Charm. You ARE gonna make me cry today.

  2. Thank you, ma'am. Knowing that I touched someone means everything to me.

    BTW, you were RIGHT! I loved Lena and Bill. Can you believe, though, that I forgot my camera? I was going to send you a picture of us. Boo. And, of course, I never thought to use my phone!

  3. PS - and you MAY just get ANOTHER post tonight. I'm on a roll and have gotten so much done today England-wise that I may treat myself to a little more time online.