A Few of my Favourite Things

When my mom moved into a nursing home, the little bits and pieces of her former life were packed up and brought to my house “for storage”.  This implies a temporary solution and that some day she would reclaim her possessions.  But I knew that would never happen.

I don’t hang onto things I no longer need or want.  I was on the Marie Kondo bandwagon long before it was a bandwagon.  At first though, out of respect for my mom, I couldn’t part with her things. But every so often I sift through the boxes and decide which things to keep, which to donate and which to throw out.  Slowly the stack of boxes is dwindling.

Most recently, I came across the lone survivor of a set of six liqueur glasses. I picked it up and remembered how much I loved them when I was a kid, even though they were only for company.  They were delicate and fragile,  but what I loved most about them was the Canada goose in full flight etched in frosted glass on either side.

The glasses would only be pulled from the cupboard of “good dishes” when we had guests and my father offered them a glass of crème de menthe.  He didn’t speak French very well, despite having married a French Canadian woman, so he had trouble pronouncing the name of the liqueur properly. He would leave my mother to entertain the company in the living room while he went to the kitchen to get the drinks. I’d watch him carefully pour the bright green, syrupy-sweet liqueur into the glasses then place them on a silver tray and carry them to waiting guests.

My father was a veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force who had been posted overseas during World War II. I have his logbook and I’ve read his entries, so I know he saw death and destruction while sitting, strapped and trapped,  in the seat of a small plane.  Like many veterans, he never spoke about the war.  I sometimes wonder if he struggled to reconcile the images in his head with his post-war life that included a wife, three kids, a modest home and serving  crème de menthe to guests. The memory alone of him calmly and with a steady hand pouring drinks for guests earns the glass a place in my “keep” pile.

Sometimes I am too hasty to part with things so I was glad when a lamp I loved found its way back to me.   I bought it soon after we moved into our current house about  19 years ago. I saw it in a quaint little village gift shop and fell in love with it.  There were two in the store, but I only needed one so, with a pang of regret, I bought one and left its partner behind.

A few weeks later my husband was lying on the couch when he stretched his arms out behind him and knocked the lamp off the pine side table where I had placed it.  It came crashing down into so many pieces there was no hope of gluing them back together.

So, down we marched to the little gift shop. My fingers were crossed that the other lamp was still there. And it was!  It lit up  our living room until we re-decorated and it didn’t mesh with the new furniture.  I can’t remember how it happened, but it found a new home with a good friend. I was happy someone else – someone close to me – could appreciate and use it.

Recently, she redecorated too and asked if I wanted it back.  Of course I did!  I found the perfect place for it on the nightstand in my bedroom. Not only can I admire it, but every night, happily propped up on my pillows, I can read by the soft glow of its light.

Written for the Throwback Thursday Memory BlogHop by Maggie from From Cave Walls and Lauren from Llsattitudeofgratitude. This week the subject is sentimental pictures (or other objects).

9 thoughts on “A Few of my Favourite Things

  1. I’ve had four dumpsters in five years as we downsize, but I hate the sort of sanitized desert I’ve seen after a Marie Kondo run-through. It looks like you’ve used a balanced approach to things, kept what’s important, and cut away the waste.

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  2. Oh, Linda, you’ve touched on so many points that are similar memories for me, and you’ve done it so well. Fragile company-only liqueur glasses, creme de menthe, a lamp a near duplicate to one of mine. And the way all the WWII vets never ever spoke of the horror they experienced. All our fathers. Thanks so much for this post. Don’t get rid of everything!

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  3. Linda, what a wonderful set of memories. Thank you for joining in on our prompt. It seems like the universe made sure you were able to stay connected to some important joyful memories.

    It has been six years since my mom’s passing. I have successfully gone through all but the pictures. I have not made it through all of them as of yet.

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  4. What a lovely and beautifully sentimental post, Linda. I have lost so many family members I think the objects bring me a great deal of comfort. I love your story about the lamp. What a great example of joy finding us. Thank you so much for participating today.

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  5. Your post touched me on so many levels. My mom has been gone since 2004 & I gave away her clothes & her furniture that I had no place for. My husband told me I’d have to be brutal & I think I was … & it was so difficult. I still have her favorite suit & a rented storage room for the other things I’ve never been able to part with. Still, they are just “things.” The most precious, really, is her answering machine that still has her outgoing message on it but I haven’t listened to it. I can still hear her voice in my heart.

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  6. First, I find it so interesting that your dad was in the Royal Canadian Air Force and that you have his logbook. They must hold the beginnings of many stories. And yes, I currently have many of my mom’s possessions placed around the house. Some will find a home here and like you, some will be donated. How wonderful that your lamp came back to you and you get to enjoy it all over again.

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