Of Relics and Connections

Photo: What is inside of this photo album? What could possibly be inside of this photo album? Oh. You’ll see during Quiet Thoughts on Friday. All I’m gonna say is, the theme of my week has been “8th Grade.” Gonna be fantastic. Be back here on Friday!


I told you that Mom dropped off a bunch of items on Sunday. My beautiful grill is getting rained on right now because she neglected to include a cover for it (“It was too dirty to put in the car, so we decided to throw it away instead.”). The other big-ticket item, though, is in my bedroom lookin’ awesome.



I swear I took a million pictures and my camera is just incapable of taking a good one. Grr. Anyway, this is my great-grandmother’s old vanity. It is about 100 years old and, you’ll see in a minute, a lot of the details on it match up perfectly with the house. I’m so pleased that it made its way to me. My great-grandmother lived to be 100, and I had the pleasure of knowing her until I was in college (crazy, no?), so it means a lot to me to have this piece of furniture in our home.

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The detailing on it is beautiful and, structurally, it is in good shape. Unfortunately, it traveled from Maryland to North Carolina, to Massachusetts and, eventually, to my house, and the travel shows. You can see the markings already, and there are other chunks taking out of it all over the place…



I’m very sad to see it in such rough shape. I’m fearful that we will further damage it… especially with little toddlers around who don’t understand what it is or what it means to me. I have many skills, but furniture restoration is not one of them, so I don’t know how much I will actually be able to do to this beautiful piece of furniture to bring it back to its former glory. It is functional, but do I use it? I’d much prefer that there was nothing in the house that a person felt like they couldn’t touch or use… I hate museum houses, you know? And I don’t want the boys to retell stories about growing up where all they can recall is the super-old vanity that they weren’t allowed to touch…

So anyway, I’ll keep you posted about how this piece is ultimately used. It will, likely, remain where it is. The picture that you see behind it, (a very cool printing of the entirety of Moby Dick, my husband’s favorite book) will have to be moved. Likely to another wall in the bedroom–we have space between the two windows on the western-facing wall that could probably world well.

There were three other cool relics that mom brought with her:

The Bible from my Baptism, with a poem written in it in my paternal grandmother’s hand:

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A cross-stitch commemorating my birth by a relative… my mom doesn’t remember who:

Cross Stitch

And a random ceramic plate made and painted by my Great Aunt Elna. (never met her). Funny dialogue for this one: Me: “So… did the paint fade or was I a white baby…?” Mom: “Yeah, uh… this is why I didn’t really display it anywhere in the house. But, you know, you had a Great Aunt Elna who like to do ceramics and she loved you so much she gave you a plate. So. There.”

Ceramic Plate


(By the way, yes, I doctored the photos because they have my middle and last names on them and, well, the Internet is dark and full of terrors, and ya’ll don’t need to know what my middle and maiden names are anyway.)

I can’t fully express why I’m excited to have the baby items. I probably won’t display them anywhere, but tuck them away for safe keeping. I suppose the question then is, why have them? My parents weren’t big on sentimental things and I actually have few pictures of myself as a baby/toddler, so it’s nice to hold something in my hand from that time. You know… the way, way back of 1984. 🙂

The Bible, though, is especially precious because of my grandmother’s little note and because I miss her a lot. She has Alzheimer’s and lives in Florida now, and I haven’t seen her (despite my best efforts) for a very long time. It’s nice to hold in my hand something that she intended for me to always have, and something that she wrote with her own handwriting, that I’ll always be able to cherish.

And while the vanity was not officially “passed down” to me by my (maternal) Great-Grandmother, it is so nice to have it in the house and I’ve been thinking about her a lot this week. While I’m not terribly superstitious, I do allow myself a little bit of whimsical belief, and I’d like to think that her spirit is always with me. I’m sure that if it is possible, she’s probably pleased to know that the piece still exists and is here and is loved. She was a woman who worked hard all her life as a domestic worker in a White household,  but she was known in the Black community of Frederick for her lemon meringue pies (a recipe I learned last year), her roasted rabbit (amazing, I know that one too) and her homemade apple sauce (the only one of her famous dishes that I actually got to eat. I remember it fondly but have never been able to replicate it). I’m so happy to be entrusted with even a small part of her legacy.

Warm thoughts for a cold, rainy day in Massachusetts.

Oh hey, guess what? Not only am I hosting my mother- and father-in-law for Labor Day weekend, but now I’m also hosting a birthday party for my nephew that weekend. OH JOY!!!! HURRAY!!!!!!

My pain is your gain! Because you know that in-law post on Monday is gonna be awesome.

It has been a very introspective and interesting week. Can’t wait to share a few more pictures and thoughts with you in my Quiet Thoughts on Friday. 🙂 Until then, stay dry.


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