Friday, 14 May 2010

Welcome to the Room of Shame

This is the small attic, where no one is allowed to enter.

You can see why.

I'm sifting and sorting and packing and chucking out. It's disgracefully dusty. But it's getting better.

All the stained glass stuff is packed away safely.


Almost all.

There are three generations of big old things, treasures not in use.



The copper kettle belonged to my great-grandmother, Sophie Van Crombrugge, seen here with her six daughters (her four sons being at school or at work, one assumes).


She looks mild and gentle-natured, doesn't she? Don't be fooled. She was a tartar, according to my mother. She was a great reader. My mother remembered coming to visit after school, often finding her sitting in her rocking chair, all chores done, with her feet propped up just inside the slow oven of the range, reading.


Her kettle was in daily use. My Tante Mimi had it treated later, so that it kept its lustre - my mother tutted at this, considering it sacrilege - but for those of us who can't even keep it dusted, regular polishing would never have happened anyway.



The heavy blue and grey pot held salt, standing in the larder next to my grandmother Rachel Story's range;  when she cooked, she would reach into the larder without looking and take a pinch of salt from it. She was a legendary cook.




The white and gold dish was my mother's. For years I kept a little cactus garden in it, and may do so again. Only a long-gone and very wicked cat put an end to the first one (no, cactus spines don't deter cats in the least).

Perhaps the weight of memories, and not the chaos or the dust, is what's making the sorting of the attic such a slow process.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're doing a wonderful job, and those memories are worth cherishing.

Jan x

June said...

Sophie looks . . . "firm and no nonsense" to me. I don't think anybody could survive raising ten children and maintain a mild, gentle nature.

The weight of memories, yes. It's right to take some time to pay homage, I think.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Each treasure prompts a memory or five , so you'll be there for days . But it's worth every minute . Enjoy !

Shelagh said...

The memories and the sharing of them are what make this blog - and you- so special! So what if it slows down the clear out process. It's worth every minute you devote to it for the wonderful images you are able to conjure up. Thank you.

mountainear said...

Tidying and sorting can be such boring chores - it's more interesting when there are things to mull over.

...and don't plastic storage boxes make one feel hyper-efficient?

jinksy said...

The stories attatched to such objects are worth their weight in gold. Maybe once you've written them down, the things will allow you to give them away for others to enjoy?

Sue said...

Memories are wonderful, you are so lucky to have physical things too.

the veg artist said...

Room of shame? You should see our garage, or any room in our house once my husband has been in it for half an hour, come to that. Luckily, we don't have an attic - he put his foot through the last one (after selling, but before moving!!!!!)

Friko said...

looks to me like there's a lot of pleasure to be had from cleaning the attic.
Several lifetimes' worth, in fact.

Rattling On said...

How restrained of you to have only the one room of shame...need I say more?

Marcheline said...

Dear - come back and read my post again. I added an ending bit on there that I'm pretty sure you missed, and I wouldn't want to deprive you the belly-laugh at my expense that I am sure you will get, if you read it.

Great old pics!!! I don't doubt that lady was not only a great cook, but a force to reckon with. And please do put a new cactus garden in that dish - it's begging for it!

Lucille said...

What a great store of family memories up there in the attic. I do agree about the weight of memories - much harder to shift than anything else. That's a wry expression of someone who has seen everything and doesn't tolerate any nonsense.

Fran said...

That's a great collection of things to remember the past by. I wish I wasn't so ruthless with stuff - I just chuck it out without thinking, and then regret it.

Annie (Lady M) x said...

I love the way that your great-grandmother is holding up the baby like a rugby ball... umm yes, I can see a hint of tartar!

Annie (Lady M) x said...

P.S. I can't even imagine how she would have the time to sit by the range reading, with all chores done.... with 10 kids? I don't even have time to do that with one, and I have got mod-cons! She seems quite posh... did she have servants?

Isabelle said...

Ah, stuff. How I love it. Great stories.

rachel said...

Servants? Dear me, no. Very ordinary, respectable folk, my lot. I suppose having lots of children means that the older ones get to be helpers as soon as they are able. The baby (my Tante Mimi) is being held by my grandmother, not my great-grandmother; similar hairstyles then though!

Pam said...

You couldn't be a walk-over with ten children could you! I think it was why they were so strict in those days. My grandfather, when he was alive, told me the eldest sister in their very large family was also a tyrant, where organization and order ruled.I enjoyed the peek into your attic,family history and items. The family photo is beautiful.

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