Christmas 2008

Christmas 2008
The Kung Fu Carvers

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My house: Where the past & present collide

I have very fond memories of my grandparents farm in Dixie outside of Walla Walla, Washington. My brother and I spent weeks there every summer from the time I was 6 until 15. And every summer I would spend the beginning of my visit almost ritualisically going through their house and over the property looking at playthings and pictures that had made an impression on me in past years. We moved so much when I was younger that it was a nice feeling to know that their farm was frozen in time. Heck, when I was in college they still had pictures of chickens I had drawn and taped real chicken feathers to on their fridge. Over time I would stop checking in on certain toys I had outgrown in favor of more grown up things but it was a nice feeling to know that I could go to those stuffed animals and games anytime I wanted. One of those things, silly as it sounds, was 3 different decks of playing cards. Why playing cards you ask? My gramma didn't have just any old playing card decks. Being from Reno, I was used to casino decks with the edges notched off and plain, old boring casino backs. My gramma's decks had a boy dressed almost like the famous "Blue Boy" painting (except not in blue) with his puppy in a fancy garden, a candle in a unusual candleholder with a little deer standing next to it and this one, a beautiful little blond cherub girl.
When I was little I didn't dare do anything but hold these cards and look at them. They were so crisp and shiny that they were more like works of art then a game. And every year I would open the cabinet they sat in (in their unusual card holder--a two sectioned box with a lift away lid, not at all like the holder you slid your cards into and closed the lid on) to see if they looked like they had been used. I think if they had shown any signs of wear I would have picked them up and played with them. When I got older I would pick up the decks, weed out the ones with the little girl and play Solitaire with them.

My grampa died in 2001 and I made the trek up with my family to clean out the house. My gramma was in a nursing home at this point and wasn't able to give us much in the way of direction as to what to do with her belongings. So we went through and tried to decide what was junk and what meant something to us. And it was hard because I had become attached to a lot of junk in their place over the years. I opened the drawer where she kept her cards. They aren't junk I told myself and scooped them up to put in my box. They're here in my house now and of the three decks, there isn't one complete set. I should throw them away. And they're still there.

So, Lexy saw the two sectioned card holder for the first time a few weeks ago and started to dig. She comes to me with the little girl, "Mommy, is this me?" HA! It *does* look like her. I find it ironic that for years I was drawn to the beautiful little blond girl on the playing card and now the beautiful little blond girl lives with me.

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