One of the things I got accomplished over Thanksgiving was taking some of my grandmother's things and giving them to my sister and cousins. I'm going through my eternal struggle to downsize and to get rid of things that I no longer use.
It's easier to do this with things that don't have much emotional value. Old shoes? Easy to get rid of. My grandmother's Tupperware? Not as easy.
Some of the items, like the Tupperware, I inherited with the anticipation that I'd use them more than I have. I had a round cake carrier, a square one, a rectangular one with two handles. Once I was the kind of person who baked a lot and took baked goods to all sorts of places.
I no longer live that life. It's partly in an attempt to watch my weight. I used to cook double baked goods: one for the event, one for the house.
It's not like I have 4 kids. I have a spouse, and he doesn't particularly care whether or not he has baked goods.
Now, even if I wanted to be that person who made baked goods for 1 or 2 events a week, I don't have that kind of time. The Tupperware has perched in my cupboards, unused and lonely.
I feel bad about their loneliness. Plus, that old Tupperware takes up lots of space. And so, I wanted to send them on. I gave my sister and cousins first dibs. They took the Tupperware
I also inherited all sorts of things that are useless to me. I paid to have some of my grandmother's furniture shipped to me. The sideboard came with the linens that had been stored in it for many decades.
These are the kind of table linens that need to be ironed. I do not iron. And so, I passed them on.
I also found several aprons that my grandmother had made. I have no memory of her wearing them. They're cute, but not functional.
My cousin's wife said, "I'll take these. The girls can use them to play dress up."
I felt a small pang. I knew that my grandmother would not have approved of her aprons being used for dress up.
But I like the idea of the aprons getting some use. And so, off they go, to a new house and a new purpose.
I told my spouse, "If these girls were characters in my fiction, these aprons would set them on a course to become cultural anthropologists who write an important text that explores the apron as an object of self-expression in a culture that didn't give women many opportunities for either creativity or self-expression. Or they'd become performance artists of some sort who create works with aprons and other mid-20th-century objects of femininity."
And of course, they'd subvert the dominant paradigm with their art.
My cousin's daughters are not characters in my fiction. They will probably play with these aprons for a few years, enjoy the experience, and then move on.
In an ideal world, they'd experience a connection with their dead great-grandma because of the aprons. That may or may not happen.
And that's fine too.
A Weekend at Chautauqua
2 weeks ago