What Are Memories Made Of?

This month’s Country Living has an article on vintage Christmas tablecloths. Apparently it’s the belief of the author that these cloths are too precious to actually use for family meals. I don’t share that belief. What can be more precious than the memories made around a family dinner table? And I can’t think of any better way to help bring those memories flooding back than pulling out that lovely old used tablecloth that my family shared those meals over. Plus, you can always cover the thing with clear plastic during meals; that’s what I do.

When I was young as soon as Christmas was over my mother would go through our gifts and pick out what she considered to be the nicest. Then she would pack them away in a closet to keep for us until we were old enough to “learn how to care of them”. Now my mom had good intentions. My family didn’t have a lot of money and she, like all mothers, wanted her girls to have nice things. She honestly thought she was doing what was best for us by ‘saving’ these things for us.

And I did learn a lot from it.

I learned that the beautiful new Bridal doll still in its box packed away in the top of the closet didn’t mean nearly as much to me as the second hand baby doll I was given as an infant. The one I teethed on and chewed all the fingers off of. The one I dragged with me everywhere I went as a toddler and couldn’t be separated from as preschooler. The one I shared the events of the day with soon as I soon got home from first grade. The one that was missing one arm, had its eyes rusted shut and never had clothes on. The one doll above all others that I hung onto well into my adulthood. That doll was my dearest friend, my confidant, my constant companion and I loved her more than all the pretty, fancy dressed dolls in the world.

I learned that is that it’s not how well preserved something is that makes it valuable but rather how it was used and who it was used by. It takes sight, sound, smell, touch, to make memories. You can’t do that with something that’s packed away and never seen or used.

So I say get your grannies old Christmas tablecloth out, put it on the table, cover it with clear plastic if you must, but whatever you do teach your family why you love it, where it came from, tell them your memories of the original owner and give them a chance to make some of their own. Give them something to remember you by and memories to pass onto their future families.

By the way, I don’t have a clue what happened to that Bridal doll in the box but, I know exactly what happened to my baby doll and I still haven’t forgiven my ex-husband.
The photos above are of some vintage linens I picked up at a local flea market. The hand embroidered tablecloth in the second picture is my favorite.

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