Some of you know I’ve been going through fifty years worth of stuff at my late parents’ home, which is taking me forever! I’m close to being done, thank goodness, and though it’s been a difficult task, it’s also been interesting, rewarding, and meaningful to me.
Recently, I opened my mother’s hope chest, having no memory of what I’d find inside other than her wedding dress. The things I found made me smile and marvel, transporting me to a different era. Linen place mats with matching napkins that had obviously never been used. Some were machine made, but others were hand embroidered. They’re so pretty, and yet I have to wonder – how in the world would they be laundered? I’m guessing some serious ironing would be involved afterward! Which is probably why my mother never used them – I’m pretty sure the only time I ever saw her use her iron was when she was pressing colorful autumn leaves between waxed paper to hang in the window 🙂
Then there are the tea towels I’m sure she embroidered herself. Cute, whimsical things that amuse me when I look at them, wondering if she chose the patterns herself, or if they’d been given to her. While I do have friends who are talented at handwork (you should see medical romance author Amalie Berlin’s tatting – it’s incredible!) these kinds of pieces do feel like a lost art, don’t they? Young women no longer sit around stitching home goods in preparation for their married days – those who do this kind of thing do it for the love of it, don’t you think? And of course, there are so many media and internet distractions today that make our world completely different from times past. I’m sure the Earth can’t really be spinning a little faster on its axis than in days past, but it feels that way sometimes!
These towels are some of the many things I just don’t know what to do with. I don’t want to stash them away for another fifty years, to be discarded by my kids. But realistically, I’m not going to use them. My sister-in-law suggested I install a few curtain rods in our guest room to hang the towels on display, as she’s done here with her scarves. A nice idea, I think!
Anyone else have suggestions? I’d love to hear them.
The real surprise inside that cedar chest is all the scarves and tea towels from the United Kingdom! My mother was born in the United States, but she was conceived in Lancashire, England and came over on the boat in utero, so that may be why. 🙂 Here are a few of the vintage scarves and towels – you can see that one commemorates Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, and another the Royal Family tree 🙂
Another shows highlights of the region’s history. And if you’re in need while in the kitchen, some Scottish recipes, too! 🙂 I’m pondering offering these as giveaways with a book to those who’d like to have one – does that seem like a goofy idea, since I don’t write historical stories, or a good one?
Do you have vintage things you enjoy? Can you give me ideas on mine? Are you someone with a talent for needlework and handmade goods like these? I’d love to hear about all of it 🙂