A few weeks ago my friend Doreen and I visited one my favorite vintage shops, Adorn Restoration Boutique in Southbury, CT. As we were strolling through the the various booths, objects from the past sparked memories.
“Oh! My mom had a bunch of these tole painted trays!”
“Geez! I should make collages from all my great-grandmother’s lace trims.”
“What? A ventriloquist dummy still in the box? My Howdy Doody is a mess.” (Full disclosure: I was tempted for just a moment!)
After I commented for what may have been the bazillionth time that: “My mom had that”, “I still have that. It was my grandmother’s”, Doreen asked, “What object of yours will your kids will associate with YOU? What a FANTASTIC question!!!
I have spent most of my life preserving my family’s history (much to my husband’s dismay – we have a lot of stuff!!) but I never took the time to think about what objects my descendants will think of in connection with me.
Recently, I asked my eldest daughter, Caitlin what object from our home she would associate with me. I figured it might be tough for her to come up with something since she hasn’t been home for a few years. She quickly responsed: “The Japanese dinnerware.”
Cait is my mid-century girl. Right up my alley. She owns an Eames lounge chair and her home has a definite mid-century vibe. The “Japanese dinnerware” is actually more of an 1980s set, but close enough.
When Scott and I got married in 1983, we registered for the Otigari Horizon stoneware set. Thanks to our wonderful family and friends, we were able to put together place settings for 8 and many accessories. Fast forward a few years through two kids and decor changes. Whatever pieces had not been chipped or broken got packed up and put in the basement, left to languish for the next couple of decades.
At some point a few years ago, Caitlin expressed interest in having the set. I was thrilled! It would look great in her home. The plan was for “someone” (TBD) to bring the set out to Colorado in person. We didn’t want to chance breakage by mailing them. Needless to say, that wasn’t happening any time soon.
As you may know, we recently moved. I packed the stoneware up so very carefully in preparation for the move, figuring they’d stay in boxes until … who knows. It turned out we have more cabinet space in our condo’s kitchen than the kitchen in our previous home. As you may also know, “gray is the new beige.” All but two of the rooms in our condo are painted some shade of gray. It occurred to me the Otigari stoneware would go quite well in our new home. I was right. After purchasing a few extra plates, and receiving more as a gift from Doreen (Thanks, again!) I had more than a full set again! We are enjoying them every day.
Don’t worry, Cait—they will still be yours. By the time your mountain house is ready for them, I should be tired of them again.
I was pretty sure I already knew the answer when I asked our youngest daughter, Meghan the same question. “That creepy doll Dad made you keep in the closet!” Yup, just I figured. And the doll is NOT creepy – I can’t help it that her generation was scarred by a bunch of Chucky movies.
Here’s a little backstory. That Kid was created by Hasbro in 1967. I remember desperately wanting it when I first saw it on the toy shelves of the local department store. The doll may be one of the earliest examples of electronic interactive dolls. According to legend, a group of moms complained so bitterly about the things he said, Hasbro pulled it off the market before I could even put my pennies together to buy one. If you pick him up and hug him he says “Put me down…. you’re funny looking.” Take away his slingshot (It actually fits into a slot in his bottom.) and he says “You better put that back or the monster will get you.” Pick up his right arm and he says “Hey, that’s my pitching arm.” Sit him down and he says “Can’t I come along?” Push his ear and tilt his head sideways and he says “Let go of my ear.”1 Pretty tame, right? But that was 54 years ago. Companies couldn’t advertise ladies’ lingerie back then. But they could peddle cigarettes? Go figure!
Not creepy at all, right??? In my kid’s defense, the one that I own is not in the best of shape. I purchased it on eBay years ago. My doll doesn’t talk but I wanted it anyway. For years he sat on chair in our home until my husband insisted he go in the closet. We have since moved and the poor thing is still in the closet. I intended to sell him before the move but I couldn’t find a suitable shipping box. (Yes, that IS a good excuse!)
I suppose I will part with him at some point. But then what will Meghan have left to remember me by???
Ask your family members what object they associate with you. You may be surprised!