Yes, I know it’s Saturday. I had some technical difficulties – four people sharing one basic Internet connection with lots of ideas on how to spend it meant very slow photo editing for me. By the time I finished with these pictures, it was long after midnight.
You can counsel me to get on that project of finding better and more Internet within our humble budget, or laugh at my first world snarl-up…or remember that this blog is called Lovely Chaos for good reason, and just c’mon in and have a slightly belated peek into one of the flat surfaces in my life!
I love the life I live with my family. Every day is filled with laughter, connection, learning, negotiating, projects, and people I love. We weave a tapestry of affection, dissent, discovery, and growth together….
I want to celebrate these years – these years where the children we’ve shared our lives with journey into adulthood. I want to spend less time grousing, and more time paying attention to Right Here and Right Now.
So, on Fridays when it seems fitting, I will share a flat surface in our home, and tell a bit of its story…
This is my writing desk. Until recently, I’d spent several months writing mostly on my bed, because our formerly feral cats had claimed the space, and anything placed on this surface was likely to end up on the floor.
Now that the cats are comfortable everywhere in the house, I’m settling into this little tucked-away space at the end of our living room, where three tall bookcases form a partial wall, and my new bamboo curtain offers a visual boundary between my evolving study and the busier parts of the house.
My “desk” is a Hoosier cabinet that once belonged to my grandparents. Some of my earliest memories are of standing in their tiny galley kitchen, watching Gramma make pies on this very countertop. I was so fascinated with the flour bin and its built in sifter (in the cupboards on the left), that I haven’t tried to remove them. They’re a remnant of my family history, and I’m not ready to part with them.
When Gramma opened the double doors, rows of jelly and preserves, in crystal cut canning jars sealed with wax, tempted me. I was fascinated to listen while she talked about the mystically adult process of “putting up jell”, often made from berries and fruits she and Grandpa grew themselves.
Gramma died when I was nine. Still, I can’t sit here and not remember those jars filled with translucent sweetness, looking like an edible stained glass window, warmed by the glow of Gramma’s smiles.
Where I have a jumble of books, canisters, boxes, seeds, and other bits and pieces I’ve been meaning to get to, but clearly haven’t yet, my grandparents kept a row of cereal boxes. They were a constant that remained even after Gramma’s death; they were still there until Grandpa died when I was seventeen. In my mind, they are still there, shadowy memory-boxes lined up, encouraging me to set some order to this space.
My grandmother baked here, standing at this Formica counter, smiling softly as she brought warmth and comfort to the lives of others. I’m more apt to play with food than to cook it, myself, and, besides, I couldn’t cook here. My Gramma was obviously shorter than I am, or with different proportions. I would need to lean forward and down several inches to fit my long-legged, short-bodied, 5 feet, 9 inch frame to this work surface, standing up.
But I think my Gramma, whose love is still a palpable force in my life, would be happy to know that I rescued her workspace from its previous life of holding paint cans in my parents’ garage, and that it is now gainfully employed in another creative endeavor. I think her blue eyes would twinkle, to see that I still love words, and making things, and that I remember her, and the way she loved me.
Maybe this is why I prefer old things to new – things with stories and memories indelibly attached to them. I love to be a piece of that life and the memories old things hold, and to give them new meaning and purpose in my own life. They ground me in my past, nourish me in my present, and give me space to imagine my future.
Someday, I will be updating this old cabinet. I have ideas. But certain things will remain the same – the flour bin and its sifter with the wooden-handled crank, the countertop that provided the canvas for my grandmother’s art, and the simple chrome handles that knew the touch and grasp of her hands, hands that shaped so much of my own early childhood. And, each time I touch them, I will be connecting with her, and the little girl I was – and, in my turn, whomever this old friend lives with, after me.
Do you have a flat surface you’d like to share? Feel free to add a link or photo in the comments! =D