My mother’s family hails from the oldest Anglo-Saxon settlement in Texas, San Augustine. Her mother’s family is from Northern Louisiana, and my great grandmothers were both incredible women in completely different ways. One (Louis D’Or) was an avid quilter, knitter, and in the 1930s obtained her Master’s Degree! She taught at what was then called the Spastic School (!), helping children with learning disabilities.
The other (Atheniar) owned and operated the only movie theater in the town for nearly 30 years. She was known for her lavish parties, and loved entertaining. At one of my more recent parties, we used her retro table-fountain as a focal piece! I am proud and honored to be related to these intelligent, talented ladies, although, understandably ecstatic that my mother was discouraged from making me either of their namesakes.
My paternal grandmother (Nannie Emma) did not have a passion for sewing or crafts, but was an excellent cook, hostess and a real spitfire. Whenever I go to East Texas, people still associate me with her, know who she was and what she did for their community. She’s even featured in a mural that was painted on the side of the library there. I am still inspired by her passion for reading, her humor and words of encouragement.
These amazing women have helped to shape my personality and passions, as well as providing literally hundreds of pieces of dishware, fine antique furniture and vintage sewing patterns. I would not be able to succeed without them, and hope their diverse character influences this blog in all the best ways.
Recently I’ve made the rounds in terms of summer visits to relatives, and luckily for me, both my Aunt and Grandmother are “downsizing” at the moment. I came away from the former’s house with a beautiful set of light blue square, art deco plates that belonged to my paternal Great-grandmother, plus a gorgeous collection (16 pieces of each!) of small and large blue glasses, with matching sherbet glasses to boot! To this was added even more vintage splendor, in the form of HATS! Mostly these are 50s and 60s beauties that had belonged to my paternal grandmother. Lots of turbans and pillboxes, y’all!
My maternal grandmother has been generous with her things for the past several Christmases, but since my mother was rearranging her cabinets, some unique pieces became available. I went home with an incredible birdcage that looks like a bird-castle (it’s got a turret and everything!), plus a Librarian pin, a vintage red sash, and a retro candle holder!
These bequeathments cannot be measured in monetary value, but in the true value that comes with generosity, connections with past generations and a shared genetic passion for beautiful things (also known as hoarding).
Speaking of which, my incredible interior designer mother has a massive hat, shoe, chandelier, jewelry, sewing pattern and general crafting collection. Anything you can think of in terms of odds and ends or crafting supplies, our house has more of than your local Michael’s. Seriously, you guys, this woman can take a hideous, gold spray-painted, skinny, plastic Christmas tree and make it look like it belongs in Neiman Marcus.
Lately, I’ve discovered that it’s becoming more and more difficult for me to go shopping for antiques and find something I’m willing to pay for that one (or more) of my relatives doesn’t already own. Thankfully, that is the case, since I’m chronically broke/poor. That minor detail hasn’t managed to stop me from growing up and continuing to flaunt my fabulousness, though! I am happy to report that being underemployed while maintaining a thriving vintage addiction is not impossible, and in my particular case, I have several generations of amazing Texas women to thank for helping me!
Do you have any fabulous ladies in your life? Have your grandmother/mothers/aunts allowed you to raid their closets? What unique things did you find? Have you received any special pieces of jewelry/clothes/furniture that you especially treasure?