Ties To The Past

As I was contemplating what to post for my first contribution to The French Cupboard, I started thinking about what it is that draws me to things vintage and romantic? Why is it that I would rather own something from times gone by rather than going into Home Goods to find almost the same thing new and reasonably priced? Why do I spend hours that I don't have to spare searching out treasures in thrift stores and online?

Certainly I know that I have romanticized the past. I look at pictures from the 40's and 50's and watch old TV shows from that time and I think what a wholesome world it was. I know the world had it's problems and buried secrets even then, but when I think back on the stories my mom told me about how often she would ride the subway late at night from Queens to Brooklyn (circa 1944-5) and she never once felt unsafe, I know that back then the world was, well, simpler and more innocent.

Although I know TV shows like Leave It To Beaver, The Donna Reed Show and later on The Andy Griffith show were not accurate interpretations of real life, I also know that shows like that couldn't exist today because the world is a much different place.

I seek out treasures from the past to keep those romantic images alive (if only in my head). I will think about the item(s) past and wonder who owned it? Did they love it as much as I do, where in the house might the object have been? Were there children, grandchildren, a dog, a garden? It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to keep alive times gone by. I can't really explain it, but I think that all of us who love everything vintage feel a connection to the past. Perhaps it's a yearning for more innocent times. Maybe it's an escape from the evening's news. For me it's all of that and a desire to surround myself and my family with objects that have been loved and that were used to add warmth, comfort, and beauty to a home of time gone by. The history of the treasure makes it valuable to me. Silly? Maybe. But I cannot let go of my desire to stay connected with a simpler time.

The romantic in me pictures Aunt Bee or June Cleaver happily baking in the kitchen in their newest apron which never gets dirty, with kids coming through the back door and all is happy and wonderful!

Yes I know this is a fantasy, and my world is nothing like that (usually, if I even wear an apron it is stained from the last time I wore it, and the daughter trampling through the kitchen is undoubtedly complaining that she is hungry, or that the computer/TV/ipod is not working)! However, after a frustrating, busy day in our modern world there is nothing I like better than to sit down in my "grannyfied" living room among my many vintage treasures.

I enjoy connecting to the past through my needle arts, be it knitting, crocheting, quilting or sewing. It soothes me at the end of a day to sit on my sofa and create. It also gives me a sense of the past. I often think of stories like Little Women with Jo and her sisters and mother sitting around the fire doing their own needlework.

Before it gets too hot, I enjoy hanging my laundry on the line and listening to the orchestra of the birds and insects flying around me.

I love setting a proper table and having my family sit down to dinner together. Some might wonder why bother, but it's in the process of creating the atmosphere that I find joy and a connectivity with the past when this was the norm rather than a rarity.

This love of vintage is more than just a fondness for objects. It is a love affair with moments of the past. It is a yearning to stay connected to those wives, mothers, and sisters who came before me and like me delighted in taking care of those around them in those every day small ways that some might see as mundane, but I see as gestures of love.

You can see more of me here.
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