At 60, I find myself turning away from decorating with trends or trying to “keep up with the Jones.”
Because we lived very simply. There was no true “decorating.”
Houses were for living in. Cooking in. Cleaning in.
They weren’t for decorating.
Back then we didn’t spend much time indoors. There was no air conditioning, 24 hour cable television, or other such luxuries.
There was hoping for a breeze through the window screens at night when sleep eluded you.
A black and white television that got a few channels if you arced the antennae just right. And TV went to sleep just like people did. Going black till morning.
I think we lived better back then.
There were no terrorists. Unless you counted the mischievous little boys that threw rocks through windows or pulled little girls hair at school.
There was the occasional drunk downtown at the beer joint that sometimes got rowdy and out of control on a Saturday night.
There were no smart phones to take our attention.
The phone was black and heavy. And the dial was hard for little fingers to work.
You did not casually use that phone.
There was no chatting someone up. The operator might listen in.
There were no “gyms” in which to work out.
You worked out in the big garden all summer long to the tune of cicadas. You fed the chickens and gathered the eggs for cooking.
It was a simple and better time.
Children learned to be creative because there were no high tech toys to play with.
You played with sticks in the dirt, climbed trees, collected marbles, and caught crickets.
I never owned a comic book. And books came from the town library.
People were not spoiled back then.
We didn’t even own a car.
We walked into town to the grocery store. On the way home, the road seemed long and never ending with heavy groceries in tow.
But mostly, we ate from the garden. My grandmothers canned all summer long. And we feasted on that food come winter.
The mason jars were all lined up on simple wooden shelves down in the dark cellar. Spiders made webs when it was closed up and quiet.
You had to swipe that sticky, gauzy feel away when you were sent down into the cellar’s depths to fetch a jar of peaches for cobbler.
No one talked about cholesterol levels or chin lifts or botox
I remember hot summer evenings with my grandmothers rocking back and forth on the front porch till close to dark.
I remember running round and round the house for seemingly no reason, trying to catch lightning bugs.
I recall the rooster that heralded wake up time. The chickens that clucked in the hen house.
Sometimes we ate those chickens for Sunday dinner.
I remember watching them running around without their heads. (Where do you think they get the phrase “running around like a chicken with its head cut off” came from?)
I recall the smell of dead chickens when their feathers were plucked. Then finally served up at the table, fried and crispy.
I started out talking about decorating. And ended up with memories from my childhood. I wonder how that happened?
Well, I tend to lose my train of thought these days.
I do decorate a lot more than they did back then.
We never had “matching” furniture sets you picked out at the furniture store. We had odds and ends and made do.
I find myself purging more and more of what I own. And every time I do, I wonder what attracted me to that stuff to begin with.
I want and live a simple life.
I decorate with my quilts, remembering all those stitches it took to create them. There are no replications of my quilts, because I never could follow a pattern.
I like my quilts on display, mistakes and all. Not folded up in a trunk out of sight.
I want what makes sense. Not so much clutter.
I want and have simple curtains to frame the windows. And more and more decorative pillows end up on a shelf in my closet.
I put much more emphasis on need than I do on want.
I cannot bring back the slow hazy lazy days when I grew up. All that is boxed up in my memory.
But I can embrace slow and simple living. And be content.