Every once in a while, it’s nice to remember how things were decorated in our grandparents’ and parents’ homes during those fun visits, especially at holiday time. Many warm and fuzzy decors were carried down to future generations – or dropped by the wayside as time passed, for example, shag carpets, wood paneling, rainbow kitchen appliances.
I came across a list on www.msn.com written by Martha Jackson on the subject and wonder if any of you have some or all of these bits and pieces of nostalgia still gracing your homes today.
Chairs, sofas and loveseats with skirts was first on the list, and one of my own, furniture with plastic covers on them for self-preservation. Yes, my Mom kept the plastic on until one day she simply decided sliding off or sticking to one’s seat was no longer fashionable. I never resorted to plastic, but the skirts I had in my own household because it was the fad together with checkered material especially made for a den. Today, skirts are gone but I still cover the sofa and loveseat with soft blankets for protection against eight paws (two dogs).
Next was a thimble collection, but there’s no room for one in the DeMarco household. It’s already too cluttered with a shot glass cabinet, 50-state spoon display, and bell collection that my husband treasures. As far as those that may still have thimbles, it all began when special thimbles were created by British manufacturers to commemorate the 1851 Great Exhibition and they quickly became a popular collectors’ item.
Next was a handmade patchwork quilt. I’ve had plenty of those, but they were courtesy of Walmart rather than any work on my part. I do envy the skill, however, but it wasn’t passed down to me. The women that spent months laboriously cutting, sewing and basting patchwork squares to make quilts created treasured family heirlooms and they should be displayed proudly.
Cane patio furniture was next on the list, but we replaced that when we moved to Morganton with two white rocking chairs, courtesy of a Lowes sale, to enjoy the view.
Ah, the next one I have to plead guilty to: destination fridge magnets. Two grace our fridge: a hula girl from our trip to Hawaii and a boot from Texas which I picked up when my daughter graduated from Air Force basic training so many years ago. There are also plenty of dog magnets that are squeezed in everywhere to hold down pictures of our granddaughter, her artwork from kindergarten, the shopping list I tend to forget, and important numbers to call.
Lace curtains was next and we’ve got them, too, in one bedroom and one bathroom. The article goes on to say that lace curtains were originally something of a status symbol due to the expense of fine lace, but that machine-made synthetic fabrics put a damper on their value. Ours? Courtesy of Walmart, Big Lots, or Amazon, of course.
A symbol of social mobility in the years following the Second World War when families were on the move, traditional crochet doilies designed to protect wooden furniture from scratches and spills were everywhere, i.e., under a vase on an end table or lining a table in the foyer. We had them.
A china collection was next and we used to have one when we lived in Concord, but when we moved to our much smaller home in Morganton, the breakfront was discarded along with the china, ornate cups and saucers, and replaced with practical unbreakable dishes.
Now this next one, we never had: an antique chiming clock with a loud on the hour, and often half hour, chime. Instead, we’ve got the battery run, above the fireplace, good old clock that we can rely on when a power loss takes out all the electric digital clocks in the house.
Ornamental garden gnomes were also on the list, but we don’t have any in our garden. We do, however, have a beautiful praying angel statue courtesy of Oak Hill Iron Works here in Morganton and a couple of ceramic dogs gracing the driveway. I’ll bet a lot of you reading this still have your gnome in your garden, no? Keep it because that’s what makes our generation unique!
Potpourri boiling in a pot was next and I was guilty for many years when this was the fad. Lavender, vanilla, pine needles, you could always find a potpourri pot brewing in my kitchen unless an apple pie was baking which took precedence when it came to house scents. And if you’re all thinking, “Well, at least she baked a pie,” sorry to disappoint but when a pie was in a DeMarco oven, Mrs. Smith always got the credit.
The last, a fluffy toilet seat cover, is alive and well in the DeMarco house and can be seen in both bathrooms. According to the article, while no one really seems to know why they exist, the fact that they can still be found hugging the toilet seats of grandparents' houses across the globe can really only be a cause for joy.
There are some things that us baby boomer grandparents will never give up and a fuzzy toilet seat cover heads the list. Why? It remains a generational secret.
Peg DeMarco is a Morganton resident who writes a weekly features column for The News Herald. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.