Familiar Pieces of Home
Here we are in Madison, Wisconsin, where the temperature may reach 30 today, if we are lucky. I love coming to Wisconsin when the temperatures start dipping. “Really?” some Wisconsinites ask, as they board their planes for warmer climes? Yes. Really.
First of all, it is the home state of my husband and he loves paying homage to it, in any season. Second, we have a nice community of friends, some of whom John has known since childhood. Third, there is an abundance of interesting food and beverage–remember this is home to some great cheese and beers–and a year-round Farmer’s Market that is a foodie’s heaven.
Over the years, our little place here has become an oasis, especially in the cold grey winters, and I’m so thankful for that. It is also a nostalgic repository of items from John’s family. The wooden table where we have our meals was the same table John’s family used for decades. A cow-milking stool–so Wisconsin–used to be in the family homestead; nowit holds a wooden bowl by a local craftsman. Our silverware was John’s parents’ and I remember seeing the vintage Fiesta and Franciscan-ware pieces (pictured above) in the family kitchen. We now use them in our kitchen. John serves beer in Schlitz beer mugs that were his dad’s. And then there are all the books, like the one I am reading now called The Art of Living, by Wilferd A. Peterson, 1961. It is sweet to think of this book giving inspiration to John’s parents then, and me, now.
I love using items from times past, especially when I’ve loved the people using them before me. It gives me a sense of continuity, nurturing and gratitude.
And right now, there is a friend’s gift from my heritage: a “Made in Italy” panettone–the sweet bread that one sees being carried by almost every Italian in Italy during the holiday season. So these last few mornings, slices of toasted and buttered panettone have found their way to that family table on small glass plates from John’s Mom. Talk about bringing joy to the table for both of us!
How about you? Do you have any favorite heritage pieces that bring you good memories when you use them? If you feel like sharing, that would be fun. I’m already imagining a virtual holiday communal table with cherished pieces from all of us.