My days are filled with research as I catalogue my dining room. Silver, silverplate, pewter, china, and linens. Bits and pieces of family history. Some things ignored for long periods of time - very tarnished - but others used lovingly at holidays. Some pieces of silver will find a new home with a sibling so they will continue in the family. A damask tablecloth and napkins made by my mom and used by me frequently will be taken by a sister-in-law. If they could talk, they hold over 50 years of family meals, celebrations, laughter, excellent food. Oh, the stories they could tell!
I am enjoying the slow, steady, warm memories that flow from the handling of all. So much of what is in my house contains stories. For example, as I polish the silver so it will look pretty, my memories start with my childhood. My hands turn gray with tarnish just as it did as a kid. Polishing silver was a chore my siblings and I handled. We complained. But now, as then, I'm fascinated by the soft glow of a knife or vegetable dish as it sheds the dirty looking tarnish and returns to its splendor. An enduring splendor.
I can't help but regret that my children don't have the same awe of using objects over and over. They seem to be more concerned by the time and energy used to take care of china, crystal and silver. These things have to be handwashed, hand dried, and carefully stored. For me that is part of the celebration. Holidays are good food and special presentation. Ahh, the old fogie emerges. Yes, the most important part of a family meal is the people who share it whether on paper plates or fine china.... But as I handle the cloth napkins, the crystal wine glasses, the special plates and silverware I remember past meals shared with absent friends and family; how we laughed, what we ate, the promise of more good times. Do paper plates evoke nostalgia? Am I an old fool for even caring? (You all don't have to answer that!!! lol)