I think what any of my ancestors would find most surprising if they were to come back is that there is so little of them left. My paternal grandma would look for her quilts, her embroidery and her China cabinet full of glass and porcelain and would find none of them in my house. I spent too many years traveling, so my older sister Betty Jo and my cousin Betty Jane wound up with all of grandma’s things. The one good quilt is over Betty Jo’s bed in the managed care facility where she now lives, but she knows nothing of it or of us or of her own children, being the prisoner of Alzheimer’s that she is.
My cousin Betty Jane passed on years ago, so the China cabinet full of Grandma’s dishes is in Idaho in the house of her second husband. What Grandma would find of herself in my house is:
one blue bowl filled with jade plant cuttings by my kitchen sink,
an old pottery canning jar above my kitchen cabinets––
and remnants of her tatting, a small square cut from a pillowslip she embroidered and part of a quilt square that I used in a retablo entitled “Our Lady of Notions.” (The view above is looking down on the top of the retablo–details not shown because of the shooting angle in the view of the entire retablo below.)
Amazing that so little remains of her in my house when she had a house stuffed full of things. Now that I am the one with the house stuffed full, I wonder what of me will remain after fifty years. Perhaps just this blog or my books or my artwork. Maybe that is why I am so compulsive about writing and doing art–that need to be remembered.
“Prize” has a double meaning—a valuable thing won and to pry away. My most “prized” possession meets both definitions. As the last possession purchased by my husband and me together, it was the culmination of 14 years of doing arts and crafts shows, traveling cross-country and working long hours making the art we both loved. It was also the culmination of our mothers’ lives, since they both passed away in the months before we bought it and it was money we inherited from them that helped us to buy it.
The second meaning of the word came when my husband died before we could move into it. In this way, our home was “prized” away from him much as he was “prized” away from me and our future together.
In the final months of his life, both Bob and I poured all of our future dreams into the house. Because I was the only one of us to actually live that dream, it has been important to me to fill it with all of the beauty that he helped to bring out in me. It feels like an ongoing collage to me, which is why it is important to try to make everything I put into it comfortable, welcoming and beautiful. The newest addition, the doggy domain, is a part of that.
Bob and I bought these male and female terracotta pre-columbian replica sculptures the day we bought the house. We put them in storage when we went to the states to have our moving sale and load up the van for our trip down to move into our new house. I took them out of storage when I moved down alone and they were the first thing of beauty that I put into the house.
prize 1 (prīz) n. 1. Something offered or won as an award for superiority or victory, as in a contest or competition. 2. Something worth striving for; prize. 2: to extract, detach, or open with difficulty
(In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pride and Joy.” What’s your most prized possession?)