Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Mother's Daughters

Don't most mothers have irritating ticks or habits that daughters swear they will NEVER have? I'm thinking of a two -- or is it three? -- generational habit. I remember my mother's annoyance when she had given her mother a gift, something gramma needed, say socks or a hat or underwear. But a year later the items were in a drawer unused. I also remember giving my mother things I took trouble to be sure was her kind of thing, a sweater in her favorite color or towels to match the bathroom ... and a year later I found them still unused. I'll never do that, said I. Well I haven't with gifts. Truly I try to use gifts. But my own purchases seem to be an other matter which I've just realized.

The above slippers were purchased by me in a Turkish bazaar, on a trip about 7 or 8 years ago. I loved them when I purchased them but for some reason I did not start wearing them until last winter. Now they're what I slip into when I'm done with the day shoes. Comfortable and they bring back a whole batch of delightful memories about all of that trip to Turkey which was a wonderful country -- and the food! Fantastic! And then there was the hamam... A story of another sort.

Only in the last two or three months have I started wearing the robe below. It was purchased about five years ago in a small town in northern Thailand from a small family industry. I love the memory of watching gramma in a back courtyard stirring fabric in a huge dye pot where she had cooked up the indigo from plants in the garden. The newly died fabric comes out a mossy green and turns indigo as it dries on the lines stretched across the courtyard. Near-by a son was sitting in an open-sided shelter with a pot of melted wax on a warming plate, dipping a stamp into the wax and stamping fabric to be batik dyed. He had shelves of stamps, wooden, hand carved ones, behind him. In the main building the ground floor was for local women who came many hours a day to sew the fabric into garments or table clothes or napkins. And on the floor above, daughter [or daughter-in-law] and granddaughter who was in her teens, ran the shop which sold items to customers like our small group. So that's where and when I purchased this lovely robe.

So why did these nice items sit in the closet unused for several years? Damned if I know but it may be genetic. Feeling something should be saved until it's really needed -- or wanted. Now I'm enjoying both and I'm very happy to have so many good memories.


Stephanie D. said...

Good for you!

Somehow we tend to think ourselves unworthy of the "good" china, or the fresh flowers or the pretty robe.

I think it's more of a woman thing myself.

Ellen aka "Ellie" said...

Oh! My mom does that too! Drives me nuts cause I work so hard to figure out what she might like. Of course, I'd never tell her that!

I think it probably makes it more special that you put your slippers and robe away for awhile. It's nice to have the old memories new again.

*G* said...

My husband will not use gifts either..some anyway. Some friends gave him a cotton throw years ago depicting scenes from Vicksburg, MS. We lived there for several years. It was a gift to HIM, not US. He insists that it stay folded up in a closet. His mother made us a quilt several years ago. He doesn't want it used either. I have a quilt that a dear elderly neighbor made and gave to me shortly before her death. It's my comfort quilt. I use it when I'm sick, or really cold, or just need to feel the comfort of it, for whatever reason. I have things that my mom gave me that would give me no joy if I did not see them and use them regularly. I just don't understand taking a special gift and hiding it in a closet. ???