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Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Past Meets the Future

In doing my part to ready my father’s house on Martha’s Vineyard for rental, I have taken pleasure in small finds.  The shape and symbolism of the key that my mother kept in her top bureau drawer speaks of a time when women locked their jewelry at night, wore cold cream to bed, and powdered their noses morning, noon and night. The ten-pound flat iron from the 1890‘s seems more like a weapon than an iron. It is heavy and compact; its use should have been a licensed privilege. The sea-glass that fills bottles and jars in every room tells a story of hundreds of early morning walks over decades of beach days. The biggest surprise came when I was changing the drawer-liners in my parents’ bedside tables.  These are squat antiqued-yellow miniature bureaus that each have four drawers.  I discovered paper lining those drawers dating from the 1950’s, back to the date of original purchase.  My mother, ever-frugal, used wrapping paper to line the drawers.  I was surprised how beautiful one print was -- it would remain a bestseller today.  Its theme was timeless, and its colors are vibrant, even sixty-years later.  The other paper that I found tells me a lot about the idealized image of brides in the 1950’s.  It would have been used to bring a gift to a bridal shower.  Images of “the little woman” in veils were used to create rosaces on a cream-colored background. The take on what was appropriate for gift-giving sixty-years later is very different.; women have gained liberating footage in ways we do not realize. However, the aspect of hopefulness in a bride’s demeanor remains remarkably fixed -- then and now.  Whether it is a key, an iron, sea-glass or gift-wrap, in many ways, the past and the future appear to have a lot in common.

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