Have you ever come across something from your past that produced a longing to revisit it again? I was putting away the towels in my linen closet and looked up on the shelf and saw that my mother’s highly-prized candelabras had turned from silver to tarnished brass. The lurch in my breast caused me to bring them out to the patio along with gloves, polish, brush, sponge and finishing cloth. The whole process took two afternoons in the shade. I enjoyed the gentle breeze, our Wellington tucked in his bed, and music to keep me company as I wiped, scrubbed, waited, buffed, washed and dried. All the while, the memories came flooding back…
The “back story” is perhaps more interesting. These candelabras graced my mother’s dining table ever since I was born. I regret that I never asked if they belonged to my grandparents or were a wedding gift. Mother changed the candles based on the season from white to red and along with a crystal bowl filled with flowers, they were the centerpiece of her elegance. To me, they meant home, very special family dinners, and holidays with my Nanas, Aunts, Uncles at the main table and siblings and cousins gathered at card-tables.
When my mother passed in 2004, the children had an opportunity to select items from her estate one by one until it was done. I selected the candelabras as one of my first choices. I wanted that piece of heritage on my dining table. When I received my selections, the first thing I did was to polish these precious memories. You can’t imagine my shock when I took the pieces apart and discovered that my father had carved his initials into the center candle holders. [You see, my father died suddenly when I had just turned 20 in 1970. He left my mother with 9 children from 21 to 6. Our lives were turned upside down that fateful day. What an amazing woman she was… but that’s another story for another day.] So, much to my delightful surprise, what I thought was an inheritance from my mother became an inheritance from my father as well.
The “in” look today is simple, clean, and (frankly to my mind) sterile — absent of history, lacking character, and pretty much looking like everyone else’s pristine home. I wanted to be in, so when we moved, I put away the old-fashioned and tried to transition to the new. And yet, something inside came alive when I saw those tarnished candelabras on the top shelf of the linen closet.
I finished the restoration of these heirlooms and placed them where they belong… on my dining table. Imagine my delight when some of my granddaughters visited yesterday just as I was drying them and I was able to tell them my story and Mother and Dad’s.
How will my grandchildren remember me? How will they know what their great grandmother treasured, if I don’t tell them her story and mine?
Nana’s Nudge: Uncover your hidden treasures and share your heritage. Nana’s Songs: We Gather Together | We are Family | My Best Days are Ahead of Me | Come to the Table
Nana’s Prayer: Good Father, help me to treasure all You have given me throughout the years. Restore what has been lost. Revive what is missing in my life. Help me to pass on what is important to those I love.