I’m new here at this forum, but I’m no stranger to internet forums of all types - from Mustangs (the car) to cooperative writing, I’ve been around a while. I’ve found myself staring down the barrel of turning 40, and in a place in life that my husband and I can afford a few of the finer things in life and not have to sell off our first born in the process. Although, now that said first born has turned 13 and believes herself a woman grown, I am starting to think I’d have the better end of the bargain. I understand now why women were married off at 12-13 years of age - they became someone else’s problem.
All that said, I’ve realized over the past few days that our entire house, with the exception of a few pieces, is filled with antiques, most of them from the 1920’s and 1930s. We actually USE the Staffordshire/Yorkshire china set, the Sheffield China, and items of cut crystal for the purpose they were intended. My children use chest of drawers that are as old as their great-grandparents, perhaps older - and they are holding up better than any ‘new’ furniture I’ve ever owned. I’ve outraged them both by listening to Swing Kings on DISH network, Tchaikovsky, Smetana, Ravel, and Strauss, rather than whatever that canned... garbage... is they play on pop stations now. (Don’t get me wrong, I love Lady GaGa and some tunes by Ke$ha, etc. I’m just picky about my current music selections ;])
Saturday, we bought a dining room set - it consists of a massive table with three leafs, 8 chairs, two sideboards, one of which is almost 7 feet long. These pieces would be considered gaudy monstrosities in a house with a smaller dining room, but our house has a den that was converted years ago into a formal dining room. The walls are a deep, October red, the floors are golden oak in color, and from the light fixtures to the items on the wall, it all seemed to welcome this dining set.
Oh sure, some of the veneer is lifting, some of the carvings are cracked, as is the surface of the table top, but it has a certain air of gravitas about it, and the style and patina speaks of almost a century of stories, could it talk. And if it could speak, it would have an English accent - it ‘came over’ with its former owner’s family at least three, maybe four generations ago. Its former owner didn’t care much for history. Instead, he wanted it gone, perhaps for a newer model, something fresh and updated. Something... younger? Something without the character and keyed locks, the secrets and the history locked in the book matched walnut veneer, the carved mouldings, and the thick layer of dust sandwiched between the caned backs of the chairs.
Something without all the weight of the past, something without the scars and dents of a life fully and well lived. Something that’s mass produced and looks just like all the others.
Something NOT in the autumn of its life, as am I.
There’s something to be said for patina and wear marks. Something to be said for something that isn’t a knock-off, something that isn’t mass produced, something that seemingly, completely by random chance, has ended up in a place where it belongs. Sure, it comes with its wear and tear and its past, but that doesn’t make it an item of less worth.
Something I’m glad that in the autumn of my own life, my husband understands - and loves.