As a foodie blogger, I am always on the lookout for props to make food photos more interesting, and, I admit to buying a few vintage items, once in a while, at a flea market or on e-bay. A close friend of ours, Mark Sunderland, is an accomplished interior designer and antique dealer in Atlanta, GA. He's always on the lookout for interesting pieces for me too (many of which you have seen in my posts), and, when he visits his childhood home in Altoona, PA, he often stops by with a box of treasures. I enjoy all of them, but (small but), I have no real connection or bond to these. In fact, as I polish each one and find a special place for it, a sad satisfaction comes over me: How sad that something so special to someone got sold for pennies, and, how satisfied the original owner might be to know it had found a good home with me. Sigh.
What do all of the 'old things' in these photos have in common?
Joe and I have always gone to visit my parents as often as we can, but recently, because of a couple of temporary health issues (which happens to us all as we get older), we've been going a little oftener, and, for a different reason -- just to help out with minor stuff:
Joe runs a few errands for them, while I do some light cleaning, laundry and cook a few meals. As I said, this is a temporary situation and we are happy to do it. My parents are more than fine, and thankfully, quite self-sufficient!
On each visit, while doing some household chore, I've inevitably found one small item that flooded my head with a memory. In fact, it made me so happy, I asked my mom if I could keep it. Why? I'm old enough to remember it when it wasn't old. It was a part of my family's everyday life:
They are unremarkable, everyday items that managed to:
"take a lickin', keep on tickin' " + survive my family!
I've always been nostalgic about "things". So much so, I am the designated "keeper of the family flame" so to speak. Over the years, relatives on all sides have gifted me with their precious things: furniture, lamps, vases, china, crystal and silver. I think my home is a very tasteful blend of old and new. In every room, you'll find a piece or two of something that has a story to tell!
Each of these treasures, one by one, found at my parent's house over the past few months, is one of those 'favorite things" that a blogger like me has got to write about:
My grandmother canned everything. She lived about 10 miles from my parents home and I spent a lot of time with her. On one of her canning days, when she asked me to go into the basement and bring up a box of "blue jars" with the letter "B" on the box, I knew exactly what I was looking for. I was 5 and I knew my colors and alphabet. Out of all of those dozens of jars, to my knowledge, this is the only one that remains.
FYI: This Vintage Rare #13 Blue BALL Perfect Mason Pint Fruit Jar & BALL Zinc Lid, will set you back anywhere from $45.00-$55.00 + another $10.00 for shipping and handling! Let that be a lesson to you -- don't throw something out just because it looks old and a bit overused!
When I was in elementary school, jelly jars turned into drinking glasses. When you finished eating the jelly, you threw away the lid, washed out the jar and put it on the shelf with the everyday dishes and glasses. Every house had a cabinet full of them and our house was no exception. Some were tall and some were short. Some were plain and some were painted. The flower pattern on this particular brand of jelly was a favorite of my mothers, and at one point we had at least a dozen of matching glasses. While mom was collecting these, our family ate a lot of jelly.
FYI: Jelly Jar Glasses will set you back anywhere from $5.00-$25.00 a piece, depending on how many you've got "as a set". I've got one!
When I was little, there was no such thing as preschool. We learned to spell via our parents and spice tins were my mother's tool for teaching me. She'd tell me what letters to look for and send me to fetch the can. Whether I got it wrong or right, we'd recite each letter on the can, then phonetically go through the pronounciation. By the time I read about how "Dick met Jane", I knew my way, A-Z, through a spice rack. Yesterday, I found this unopened 1950's can of Durkee's cayenne in my mom's pantry. The original price tag on the bottom reads 25 cents!
From the time I can remember, somebody was always hanging wet clothes on the clothesline or retrieving dry clothes from the clothesline. I actually think I remember watching them do it from my baby carriage. When I entered my teen years, hanging and picking clothes became my job, and, I didn't care for the task at all. Why? Because there was a perfectly good appliance called "the dryer" in my mother's laundry room. It was positioned right next to "the washer", and, you put the wet clothes in it and it dried them for you. Mom used her washer. Her dryer? Not so much. As for these two clothespins: Mom still has a big bunch of them in a clothespin bag hanging on her indoor laundry line in her laundry room. She won't miss two until she reads this post. Circa 1950's, they're so smooth and polished you could hang pantyhose and not risk a snag... they don't make 'em (or practically anything else) like they used to!
The Little Red Hen; The Story of Little Black Sambo; The House that Jack Built; The Tale of Peter Rabbit; Uncle Remus Initiates the Little Boy, and, the unforgettable: Wonderful Tar-Baby Story!
There are poems too:
The Goops on Table Manners; Butter and How to Make It; The King's Breakfast; What is Pink, and, of course: Old Mother Hubbard!
I hope you've enjoyed my little trip down memory lane as much as I've enjoyed writing it!
(Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013)