Monday, August 16, 2010

Small Things

Yesterday I hung these plates on the wall in the kitchen. Now every time I walk by them I smile.

The bottom plate started the collection. I was two years into an MA program, with a week sorting through archives in the Pennsylvania capital just behind me. Now we were swinging south for the wedding of one of my cousins. The delicately flowered plate cost me $17 at an antique store in tiny Lucketts, Virginia, the too heavy stream of traffic on Route 15 outside the store a harbinger of the looming Northern Virginia sprawl ahead. With the plate carefully wrapped in paper, I tucked it into a briefcase in the van, gently cushioned between hundreds of pages of fragmentary notes and quotes about interracial marriage in colonial Pennsylvania. With the plate safely deposited we walked across the street to a park.

Neil was six months old.

And I was twenty-four.

My thesis was still eight months from completion.

The middle plate came from an antique outlet along Interstate 75 in the city where my husband was raised. My mother found the top plate in the attic of their home - a home that's been in my family for 70 years, purchased in 1940 by my great grandparents Neil & Leoda. My great grandmother died in 1965. My son's namesake survived her by 13 years, passing away two years before I was born. He was stolid and undemonstrative by all accounts, but the same subtle smile still comes to each of his grandchildren whenever conversation turns to memories of summers spent with Grandpa at "The Farm".

My own grandmother was 9 when her family moved to "The Farm". Years later the home of her earliest childhood was torn down. That home's last owner allowed my grandmother and her sister to walk through the house one last time before it was torn down. My grandmother left the house that last time carrying a doorknob as a souvenier. She offered that doorknob to me last fall, to find a new home at the Einsel House:

But lest anyone think all I've accomplished lately is small things like hanging a plate rack and installing a doorknob, before I close I'll include a few pictures of the "bigger" things that have been going on around here.

Back of the house, October 2009:
Back of the house, August, 2010:

The back bedroom, December 2009
(this is actually two months in, I don't even have a true "Before"):
The back bedroom, August, 2010:

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