I'm sure that many of you have asked yourself the following question.
If the house was on fire what prized possession would I grab first?
Five years ago my answer was easy. I would have grabbed my three overflowing photo albums and run for my life.
Now five years later those 3 photo albums have developed into 24 beautifully scrapbooked photo albums full of mementos, photos and generations of family history. It would be impossible to grab them all in a hurry and make a run for it unless I had 6 toga wearing, strapping, strong, male Roman slaves and a pack mule.
This got me thinking and I made the wise decision to copy everything onto 3 USBs and I have left them with my mother for safe keeping.
From now on whenever I complete another scrapbook and add it to the overflowing bookcase, I place it on a new $6.00 USB and post it to my mother.
It's the best insurance money could buy.
The reason I broached this subject is because yesterday I nearly burnt down the kitchen.
I was stupid...I was wiping the dishes...got distracted...placed the cloth on a stove top that was still hot and WOOOSSSHHHH!
The tea towel was on fire and I'm standing there doing the "oh shit, what do I do?" dance.
Anyway I mentally slapped myself, pulled it together, put the fire out, knocked the smoke detector of the ceiling with the broom handle (as I am too short to turn it off) and ran and grabbed my pansy plate out of the cupboard and hugged it tight.
Five minutes of deep breathing go by and a it finally dawns on me that I'm clutching a plate.
I open my arms and look in amazement at what I'm holding. It's a plate I have not used for at least 5 years. I didn't even know where it was! (obviously my brain did)
I placed it on the counter top and as I stared at it the memories come flooding back.
I first found this plate at a farm clearing sale years and years ago. It had belonged to an elderly English lady and she had told me that it was the only piece left of a large dinner set that was given to her as a wedding gift. I owned an antique store at the time but it never made it to the shop, instead I took it home with me, gently washed it and placed it on the plate shelf in the kitchen.
At that time I lived in a renovated weatherboard cottage with very uneven floor boards.
An artist drawing of my little cottage
Every time a door would slam the kitchen buffet that held the plates would shake.
I was so proud of the restoration work I did on it. It was antique huen pine and I'd stenciled folk art cottages and hearts along the shelf edges (as you did in the 1980s) I was collecting vintage English Alfred Meakin green china and I had found 23 pieces.
The pansy plate looked odd with the green and gold china but I loved it. Two weeks after it found a home on the china cabinet a huge gust of wind slammed the kitchen door so hard that it shook the floor boards and the plate cabinet toppled over. Every single piece of Meakin china broke. The pansy plate was buried under all that broken china but did not have one mark on it.
Once again I gently washed it. I knew it was a special plate. The pansy's were so delicate, yet their colors so vibrant. I use to think that if I rubbed my finger along the flowers on the plate that they would have that smooth velvety feel like all pansy's do. Most of all I think I loved the plate because it reminded me of home.
No that's not true. I loved the plate because it reminded me of my mother.
It reminded me of her love of pansy's and the many punnets she would plant in abundance every year. The "fresh from her garden" pansy and violet posy's she used to bring me when she'd visit. And the way she taught my son and daughter to run their fingers along the petals so they too could feel how velvety smooth it was. Just like she did was I was young.
So there I was in a smoke filled kitchen with tears in my eyes. Not because of the smoke or the fire or the mess but because I'd forgotten. I'd forgotten about pansy's, about the memory of my mother and about that damn plate.
At that precise moment Beauty arrived home. She walked into the kitchen, looked at me, surveyed the damage and walked over to stand beside me. She noticed the plate next to me on the counter top and softly runs her finger over the purple pansy's petals.
She said, "I love this plate"
I said, "Me too. If the house ever catches on fire we have to take this plate"
She said, "Deal. (she pauses) Whats for dinner?'
I said, "Blueberry Cheesecake"
She looks at me, shrugs her shoulders, smiles and simply said, "Ok"