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Monday, August 25, 2008

Back with a digression about sweaters

As you might have guessed, I've been back for a while. Hiding. But you must know by now how long it takes me to shift gears, and get back into "home" mode. This seems to be particularly true when I visit the Adirondack house, which is not only a physical sort of trip (even though not that far) but - more importantly - a form of TIME travel.


And so much for idle promises. I took almost no photos, and the pastels stayed in their boxes. Worse yet, I didn't revisit the old letters except to ascertain that they were still there, and notice that there were quite a few more similar-looking boxes. One, that I just peeked into, appeared to contain all of my great-grandfather's bank statements and cancelled checks from 1938 and probably before. Things like $2.50 for auto repair.




Sorry, but I just couldn't get into it. I was really more interested, this time, in being around the children, living in the present. And it's not easy to do both. So I just brought down a couple of magazines (randomly chosen from stacks and stacks). A 1927 Vogue. A 1948 House and Garden. I put them casually on the desk in the library, thinking they'd make a nice complement to the 1952 NY Herald Tribune that's been there for years now, though not since 1952. Leafing through them there, I imagined that my grandmother (and others) must have read them when they were new in that very setting.


Except for the cast of characters, which is always shifting, from one set of third cousins to another, the activities and backgrounds stay the same. Children digging in the sand at the beach. Roasting corn off the kitchen porch. Picking blackberries. Playing games in the library (OK, this time it was watching the Olympics). I could post photos that were several years old and nobody would be the wiser. So, in fact, that's what I'll do:



Not all of these photos are related to the Adirondack House. The common theme is my sister, whose last visit was just three years ago, and who died suddenly and unexpectedly barely three months later. The photo in the top right shows the house as it must have appeared in the 1960's, and was taken by her. Until the advent of digital cameras (which never interested her), she was the family photographer, well-known for documenting pretty much everything. There she is with Supermom and the gang in the top middle photo, and in the middle right (in the Adirondack house kitchen. The bottom row photos are all from 2005 (I think), and the middle row (center and left) show her as a teenager and as a brand new college graduate.

Can you see why I might think that she really never aged or changed?

The reason I'm dwellling on all this is that while I was in the Adirondacks, there was an estate sale being held at her home in Wisconsin. Supermom and Quantum Void had taken what they wanted of the "good" things, but there was still a heck of a lot left over. Like EIGHTY shetland and Norwegian-type sweaters. Eighty!? Who knew that my sister was the Imelda Marcos of sweaters?



But then I started to think: most likely some, if not most of those sweaters dated from her high school and college years - maybe even earlier. Not one to follow fashion trends, she had, early on, found a look that suited her and stuck with it. And, since her size never really changed, what reason would she have had to get rid of any of those sweaters? And could you blame her for wanting to add a new one once in a while?

Letters from 1943? Bank statements from 1938? Eighty sweaters doesn't seem so unreasonable. It must be a family thing.










4 Comments:

Blogger SuperMom said...

A great post.

And, for what it's worth, a couple of those sweaters had YOUR name sewn inside, LOL.

8:35 AM  
Blogger AlexanderTheGreat said...

cheer Jennifer!

11:58 PM  
Blogger sukipoet said...

Goodness, how interesting a post. I just laugh at the newspaper on the table joined now my the magazines. That you even still have the magazines around, goodness! Im sorry about your sister. She looks lovely. Great smile. So many memories when a family hangs on to a place that can be a container for both the memories and the stuff. Thanks, suki

8:48 AM  
Blogger Lynn said...

I was quite taken by the collecting your family does. Oh dear, I doubt I have owned eighty sweaters total in my entire life of 67 years! But I thought too how wonderful to find all those old papers and statements that represented the lives of family members. Such a living history you have there.
And I loved the sentiment above about leaving the flower guide in case someone needed to look up a flower. It's like visiting a museum that house is. But for you much more with the familial connection.

Lovely wedding to gaze at too. Blessings to the bride and groom, family, friends and on lookers all!

3:22 PM  

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