Friday, December 18, 2009

Heirloom


Alone in the house day after day with my mother’s antiques, I realize how easy it would be to become one of them — to be tricked out of my life by this ghostly winter light.


Update:
In the Forum: book-buying habits.

5 comments:

Joseph Hutchison said...

I love this one. It reminds me how different our situations are. My dad was an orphan, so there's nothing at all from his side of the family. My grandmother always wanted to have the latest of everything and was unsentimental about everything but photographs, so my mother has no antiques. Very little in her house dates from before 1950. You may become an heirloom, but me ... I'll become a set of glasses bought piece by piece with S&H green stamps, or a small 3D landscape of the Arizona desert with a dry little dirt road winding off toward a painted sky among styrofoam cactuses....

William Michaelian said...

The sheer romance of it! And your mention of green stamps reminds me that our eldest son, a book-lover like his old man, is now the guardian of the set of Funk and Wagnalls my mother bought at the rate of one volume per week at the grocery store back in the Fifties. I don’t remember the cost of each book, but I do know there were weeks when she barely managed it.

Joseph Hutchison said...

Our encyclopedia wasn't a Funk and Wagnall's, but we did have a set of red clothbound classics, the first volume of which was a selection of Poe stories—the first non-illustrated book I ever read. "The Pit and the Pendulum" haunted me, though I couldn't understand the ending: "An outstretched arm caught my own as I fell fainting into the abyss. It was that of General Lasalle. The French army had entered Toledo. The Inquisition was in the hands of its enemies." What was the French army doing in Ohio? (I knew Toledo only from Make Room for Daddy, the TV show with Danny Thomas; on the show, his Uncle Toulouse was from Toledo.) Childhood. There's nothing like it!

William Michaelian said...

Holy Toledo — you’re too loose, Lautrec! It’s Tonoose.

Lasalle

Joseph Hutchison said...

I knew I should have Googled that first! But I went with my memory. A cautionary tale...