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Friday, September 16, 2011

A Memory Keeper’s Daughter

I grew up in a modest brick ranch house built in the early 60’s that was purchased new by my family. For over 40 years very little was removed or changed. As other cherished family members passed on, my mom and dad collected sweet bits and pieces of their lives and added them to their own.

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Little bits of beauty could be found in the yard…

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…in the trees…

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…growing in the garden…

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…and boy oh boy…in the closets, tucked in chests and dressers, behind hutches, under the beds, in the garage…

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… it was enough to make you…smile.

We stopped counting my mom’s collection of red hats she wore to her society meetings and just started wearing them.

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Moments of joy and grief.

When the bed my parents snored in for years was dismantled, I too felt as if my heart was being taken apart.

It was a sad reminder that I had lost my compass…

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…and my shining star.

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But every night brothers, sisters, in laws and grandchildren sat down for dinner together. I could feel my mom’s presence and this made her REALLY happy.

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Each of us selected a memory (or 50) to keep. However, the collection of 100+  dust catching carousel horses is still up for grabs.  :)

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The house will remain in the family, but it needed a fresh start. The gold Grecian Goddess wallpaper in the front bath had to go. My sisters had the hard job of scraping off 30+ year old heavily glued paper.

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I only had to take down hardware.

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Afterwards, the bathroom breathed a deep sigh of relief as new fixtures were installed, plumbing was updated and paint was selected. For those who will mourn her loss, a memento.

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I went on and began redesigning the front room where you once couldn’t see an inch of clear wall space. Color will be added through art, paint, upholstery and china. Eventually all the rooms will get done.

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Thomas Wolfe once said “You can’t go home again.”  Luckily, I am a member of the Bon Jovi generation and was given the precious gift of working, eating and sleeping alongside my sibs. 

Each family member is one small piece of fabric that has been stitched together by a common thread. While this makes for a truly crazy quilt, it is intricately beautiful in its own way. 

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From the bottom of my heart I want to thank each and every one of you for your lovely and inspiring comments and emails. My individual response button is currently buried under a mountain of laundry and boxed treasures but please know you are deeply appreciated. 



Jane said...

What a beautiful and loving post, Laura! I know how hard it is to dismantle our parents' home/s - so many memories! How wonderful that you and your siblings were able to get together for this project, creating new memories as you worked!

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

What a beautiful post Laura! I know this has been a hard time for you, but I thank you for sharing the photos with us! I love these! :):):):):):):):):):):)

Little Leslie said...

I'm glad your home will stay in your family, and that you can redo it. This will probably be a healing experience, going from room to room remembering the good times.
Take care,

Linda said...

I just love this - and you - soooooo much!!!!

Bless your heart and each of your siblings! I find it VERY heartwarming to see you all working side by side on your family home and keeping it in the family, along with treasures of your Mom's. How fitting, that her GREATEST treasures - ALL OF YOU - are there working together on something so precious. ♥ Your family is exactly how I like to be, or at least aim to be.

Love to you, each one of you,
Linda said...


I had to smile because my mother has the same collections -- red hats galore {she was the Queen Mother of her local Red Hat Society} and an infinite number of carousel horses! So happy that you were all able to pull together and experience this part of the journey together; sharing memories, smiles and tears; discovering living pieces of your parents in each other. Thank you for this inspiration to reach out to my sister.

Your Friend,

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

What a lovely post and a testament to your wonderful mother and her loving family.

Joani said...

Beautiful post. I so loved reading and living it with you. Have a great day.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

What a sweet post Laura. This is such a hard part of life. My hubby's family will soon be walking in your shoes. Their 90 year old Mother is declining, and 92 yo Dad is little by little losing his memory. It will be hard on this close knit family. Thanks for sharing your encouraging words.

Jocelyn @

DREAMS ON 34th STREET ~ French Bread & Family said...

Such a dear post, Laura!
We're here for you right now, don't worry about individual responses!
Sending the best of love and blessings your way!

Bloggymom said...

I agree with everyone---beautiful post.

Hugs to you as you continue to grieve and hold on to her memories.

Karena said...


I think that so many of our parents are of that generation of collectors and acquirers. I am so happy your family worked together. I know it must have been such a poignant yet difficult time.

You are the best, and a living testimony to the grace and love your Mother had.


Art by Karena

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

Glad all went well...looks like some lovely pieces!!

Karen said...

what a heart-warming post. It is nothing like having brothers & sisters to draw close to during this time.

Kelley said...

I added your name to the God Box.

You are loved, friend.

Ruth...Time Was Antiques said...

I know how hard this can be, having gone through the loss of my dear father and several years later with the clearance of my childhood home as we moved my mother into assisted living. What a blessing you had family to help each other and encourage each other in what seems like an insurmountable task and emotional land mine!

Mimi said...

BIG HUGS to you, I know how hard this is for you. I understand. BUT family is stuck together with glue tougher then that wallpaper glue!!!
You will hold it together for ever

Blondie's Journal said...

We recently did the same thing with my parent's home after my Dad passed away in December. All those boxes...and sadly, the ones no one wanted. Very bittersweet, I'm sure you know. This was beautifully written, Laura.


White Ironstone Cottage said...

Beautiful Post Laura
I feel your Love for her in the words you write
sending love and prayers

Hollace said...

So glad you found a way to get away to be there with the sibs. I'm sure important memories were made this week, and old memories surfaced that brought you close again to the family and your mom. The crazy quilt is a good picture of the ties we have, the differences between us and the things that bind us together.

(My mom passed away last March; Dad would like us to want their place but they, too, have foil wallpaper in their bathrooms...among other things...)

Loretta Fontaine (APPLESandRUBIES) said...

Laura- What an overwhelming task - made light by the help of many kind hands. I can tell your family is full of love.

(And the goddess is quite beautiful!)


Sonya@Beyond the Screen Door said...

What a truly loving a special tribute to your precious Mom. I could see my own family members in what you've written. Thanks for sharing this beautiful post with us.

Charlene said...

God Bless you & keep you as you all heal & go forward. Aren't you lucky to have each other!

Annesphamily said...

Your post was absolutely beautiful! I hope you have much love and happiness in your family always!This was so perfect. Enjoy the weekend! Anne

Hines-Sight said...

What a lovely post.

Kit said...

Thinking about you. It must be hard and I know, I have been there. Hang in there, we are here for you friend. Love,Kit

My name is Ali... said...

What a beautiful post...there is much healing in remembering and memory. Love to you and your family.


Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

Laura, this is a lovely post....just like you are such a lovely person! I am thinking about you. Thanks for trusting us with something so personal and precious.

Ricki Jill

Lynn said...

I loved your post about the memories and the new memories made with your family getting the house ready for a new family member to move in. My husband lost his oldest brother in 2004, his death was a shock to the whole family, and especially hard on my hubby, they had just spent the weekend working on remolding one of the rental properties, little did he know that when he told him goodbye around 9pm on Sunday night that his brother would be gone before 8am the next morning. My hubby inherited the house. We live 5 minutes from that house, we could not move there. We fixed it back up after the rest of the family took what they wanted from there. Our daughter lives in the house now, but it will always be called Corky's house. I will continue to keep you in my prayers.

ps, I sent you an email, I am your pal in the fall swap on gargage sale girl's blog. Please email me your info as soon as you can.