Monday, April 21, 2008

Yummy Monday!

Let me begin by telling you a story. This story begins (as all good stories do!) with a little girl. This particular little girl was called Polly, short for Pauline, and she was the daughter of a wealthy Southern gentleman and lady in the 1930's. Little Polly was very loved and she knew it. She was the sort of girl who didn't doubt that she was special, smart and pretty because she was made to feel that way every day of her little life. Not only that, she was blessed to have three meals each day and all the best clothes and toys. Her grandchildren would, many years later, exclaim over a photo of ten-year-old Polly standing in front of a miniature, child-sized Southern mansion....Polly's "playhouse." She was petted and pampered in all the right ways until the sad day that her mother died. At the age of 12, Polly's father remarried a horrible woman who was cruel to Polly from the get-go, a real-life version of the storybook "Wicked Stepmother." Not only did this woman not love Polly as her own, she arranged to have her sent to a boarding school and then systematically and completely removed any and all vestiges of Polly's mother's life from the home. Photos of Polly's mother were discarded. When Polly returned from boarding school on holiday, all (I do mean ALL) of her dolls, toys and childhood treasures were GONE. It was simply no longer her home.

Polly was my maternal grandmother and fortunately all this pain and misfortune only served to make her stronger. She grew up to be a beautiful, smart and loving woman who married a handsome colonel and raised my mother and two other children all over the world while her husband served in the U.S. Army. Though you'd hardly know she had had such a difficult childhood, there were a few clues to her past. One was that she saved EVERYTHING and encouraged her children to do the same. She knew too well what it meant to have her possessions, childhood treasures and even her MEMORIES stolen from her, and she never wanted her children to feel that pain.

Suffice it to say, I am Polly's granddaughter! I save a little bit too much of everything and am afraid to throw away what might be a treasure someday. Perhaps this is what started my love of all things "vintage." We moved a lot in my childhood and as a result I don't have a "childhood home" like my husband has or like my children will have. But there were always certain objects and certain traditions that went with us all over the world when we moved from place to place that served to make our various houses, "Home."

Heirlooms are those objects that remind us of the past and hold not just material value but also emotional value. This is what Polly didn't have as a grown-up but wanted so much for her children and granchildren. When she knew she was dying of cancer she carefully labeled even tiny knick-knacks with her children and grandchildren's names. She wanted no one to be left without something to treasure from her life. Unfortunately that came mostly from fear. She knew what is was like to be without those memories...those heirlooms...and she wanted to save us that pain. I also want to cherish even simple objects that hold meaning and to pass that love of the past on to my children, but my desire is that this will come from a joyful place, rather than a place of fear. I want our family's heirlooms to honor and celebrate the goodness of the past, spark memories and serve to continue the tradition of love in our family.

All week I'm going to blog about Family Heirlooms, showing you piccys of some of my most treasured pieces from my own home and sharing the stories of why they're precious to me.

But TODAY I'm going to take you on a Monday Yummies trip to see some of the sweetest things I've seen lately that have the potential of being an heirloom for your own family or a special friend. They come from all over and don't have any particular "theme," except that something about them touches my heart. Though the thing about an object that makes it an heirloom is never purely aesthetic beauty, there is something closely akin to beauty that I think of as "charm" that sets certain items apart for me. Something about each of these yummy treasures is aesthetically beautiful. Most of them are simple, many echo the beauty we enjoy in nature and most of them are handmade. Even if you don't purchase these yummies, I hope they inspire you, charm you and make your heart warm.

So let's go!

YUMMY THING ONE: Homer Laughlin Soup Bowl from Southern Lady Vintage
This bowl is just lovely. I love this pattern and though I'm not usually a fan of blue in my decorating, I would make an exception if I could find a whole set of this china. Incredible. But even just one piece would be sweet as a "berry bowl" or somesuch. I love the idea of certain pieces of china for certain uses so that children (and mamas!) associate a piece with a host of associated memories.
YUMMY THING TWO: Amelia by Bettsi

I had a doll similar to this one as a child, handmade by a favorite great-aunt. One of my goals this Spring is to get the boxes of dolls and keepsakes out of my parents' attic. My girls are going to DIE when they see my dolls.
Aren't these precious? So perfect for a new baby.
YUMMY THING FOUR: "Little Mother" Bessie Pease Gutman Print from The Velvet Rabbit

This is one of my favorite vintage prints. I have a whole series of prints by Gutman, including this one, all featuring little girls and their dolls. They are so sweet and touching, inspired by Gutman's own daughter. My friend, Pat, is offering this vintage print as a large fabric block and a matching print in this listing, which is perfect for making your own heirlooms...picture this as a pillow on your little girl's bed and the print framed above it!

YUMMY THING FIVE: Incredible Mother & Baby Bust
This speaks for itself, doesn't it? Such a sweet picture of Motherly Love.

YUMMY THING SIX: The Path to Home by Edgar Guest

Though I'm not crazy about the colors, frame, etc., I love this poem and think it deserves to be embroidered in sweet, Cheryl-ish colors, don't you? :)

Here's what the verse says:
The world with myriad paths is lined
But one alone for me--
One little road where I may find
The charms I want to see.
Though thoroughfares majestic call
The multitudes to roam
I would not leave, to know them all

The path that leads to Home.

Well that's it for this week's Monday Yummies! I hope you enjoyed these as much I do. Come back later this week and chat with me about heirlooms and what they mean to us. And I'd love to see any of your family heirlooms, if you'd like to share them! So post them on your blog and I'll link to them this week, if you like.


Cheryl :)


Anonymous said...

Hey Cheryl - thanks so much for that post about your grandma - it was just what I needed to read today - something to kick me out of my doldrums - I had to come home and leave my I'm feeling a bit down but your post helps put things in perspective!

Alison Gibbs said...

Cheryl what a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing with us.
As for Yummy Monday what more can I say than Yummy, yummy!!!

Heidi said...

Hi Cheryl,
What a heartbreaking story of your grandmother. Sounds like she was a strong women who made a good life in spite of her childhood. I'm looking forward to seeing your family heirlooms and more!

Southern Lady's Vintage said...

I so much enjoyed this sweet post! I was so touched by your grandmother's story. I am so happy that she found her inner strength and made such a happy home for her own family. I am glad that the Homer Laughlin bowl spoke to your heart. When I found it, it spoke to me too as I imagined how many family members gathered around the family table thru the years where this patterned graced the table. I wish that I could find an entire set too. The old pieces just seem to have such a charm to them that is hard to describe. I am happy that you found that charm too! I loved all of the beautiful treasures that you have featured here. The little Chickabiddy Baby made me smile, so sweet! And I love the charm of the Betsy Pease Gutman prints. The bust of the Mother and child is just beautiful and the verse in the framed print is just such a sweet reminder of home. Thank you so much for sharing!

Jessi Nagy said...

great post , yummy finds. im glad you are back.

Betty said...

What a wonderful story about your grandmother. Thank you for sharing it with us!

Adla said...

I'm glad Grandma Polly came out of a sad scenario shining. Just shows how much patience and hope she had.Well we'd all like to preserve all that we can but I'm sure put all of the material things together, it's her story of hope that lives on and will be most treasured.

Unknown said...

Hello! Welcome back from your break! I was just catching up on all your fun posts!! What sweet treasures you have shared! Hope you post pics of your dolls from the attic when you get them down. I sure missed yummy mondays, so I'm glad you're back!!

Unknown said...

Cheryl! I feel so honored to be included in such a moving post. Your Grandma Polly is exactly the kind of woman I admire-strong and loving! I am so happy that you like Amelia- she is a sweet girl, for sure! Nice to have your cheerful voice back on your blog.

Jennifer Hayslip said...

Cheryl what a BEAUTIFUL and eloquent post! My family too believe in saving and treasuring our family heirlooms. It's what we have to connect to one other and preserve our past. What a touching post!!! Your yummies are sooo sweet and wonderful and I MUST tell you that I OWN the Homer Laughlin collection of the EXACT SAME PATTERN! :) It's what's displayed in my kitchen and we eat on every night. GORGEOUS taste sweet friend!!!! XOXO

Lisa Kettell said...

What a wonderful post, a true story and inspiration to read, as for saving everything I do too, took that from my great grandfather whose birthday I was born on, he owned a salvage yard and saved everything too!
Have a magic filled week!

Lori said...

Cheryl, i wish my family had been as very immediate family is...but i really cringe when i remember things that were in my grandmothers and great~grandmothers house that i would so love to have mother was never even asked by those "in charge" if she wanted to keep anything when they passed sad:( i love that bowl from southern ladys vintage, i have been eyeing that for a while, i don't really do much blue either, but it is really gorgeous!!!

miss whit said...

Wow Slister. I didn't know that about Grandma Polly. Momma never talked about all that. Thanks for sharing that :) I love your yummies too!

Hazel said...

Oh I did enjoy reading your latest post Cheryl. Such a beautifully written piece. I have a similar true story, but couldn't tell it the way you have in such a touching and positive way.
Well done.

Cheryl Miller said...

Cheryl, thanks for Yummy Monday! Beautiful, as always. I loved the post about your grandmother. Looking forward to what you have to share with us!