I believe in a similar way to photographs, we acquire and arrange our possessions as an ever-changing tableau that undergoes reformation with time and our turn of minds. We constantly preserve our memories through our possessions, holding our memories close throughout our lives through our selection and display of ephemera. For this post, I am going to discuss my dresser area. I am going to show how I preserve the past, keep joy in the present, and move into the future with courage and grace through the use of ephemera. Hopefully explaining why I believe the small things in life really do matter.
Ed Sheeran, the British musician, best known for his Grammy-winning song, “Thinking Out Loud,” has another song entitled “Photograph.” Last year, “Photograph” seemed to be playing everywhere from the hair salon to the doctor’s office to the box store to the local grocery. “Photograph” speaks of how we take pictures to record moments when we had both our eyes and our hearts open so that we could preserve these memories of good times and healthy innocence to hold them close throughout our lives. The poignancy of “Photograph” lies in the fact that a such a young man understood so well certain aspects of life’s memories and could convey them so excellently in a song only four minutes long.
Every morning upon waking, I can look over at my dresser. I am greeted by a 1920’s-1930’s dresser acquired at an estate sale and cleaned but left with its natural patina created over years of good, solid service to its previous owners. To the side of the dresser is the wooden rocking chair I came home to as an infant and spent many hours being nursed or rocked to sleep in. Over the rocker’s back is a hand-blocked, traditional, cotton scarf from Delhi, reminding me of my obsession with India.
The dresser top is covered with a linen table scarf embroidered with red-worked teapots by my mother. In the center of the dresser top is a piece of interesting and eclectic “book-art” completed at a class showcasing one of my favorite colors, verdant green. Ear-cuffs with green accents are placed upon the “book-art” and a green travel necklace with a prayer box lies in front to accentuate the green motif further. A bangle/bracelet black velvet, three-tier holder rests along one of the back corners of the dresser top and holds my extensive collection of beaded bracelets, bangles, and cuff bracelets that have been purchased or that I have created over the years. In front of the bangle holder rests a wool swatch from my foray into graphed, color knitting that reminds me of the joys of a good instructor and the things he taught me. Opposite the bracelet holder is a teal vase with irises and poppies to add a pop of color and to draw the eye to the large canvas of poppies hung above the dresser and the “Keep Calm and Carry On” wall art in the corner.
In front of the vase is a vintage piece of ceramic that depicts a cottage in the countryside with bright color usage and a shiny finish, recalling the rolling hills and the rural locales that have been a part of my life since birth. To the side of the vase, is a ceramic ring holder, one of those vintage, hand-painted finds from the era when ceramic shops were a going concern. This ring box was painted by “Flora” and reminds me of “Flora’s Secret,” by Enya, making me smile with the reminiscence of Enya’s work that brings to mind sparkling sunlight, gentle raindrops, and rippling water in musical form.
On the dresser top, in the center, against its back, is an incorporated piece of lovely gingerbread work and beneath it, an antique plate entitled “Empress” by John Edwards and called a “Porecelaine Deterrl” piece. I love the creamy background on this plate with the gold accents around the edges and in the center. This plate is also a memory cloche: holding an odd assortment of physical items that are touchstones of my times past. The diminutive, plastic calf was a gift from my great-grandfather when I was four. He was and remains the finest man I ever met, reminding me of the verse in the Book of Esther regarding Mordecai, “. . .accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.” Esther 10:3 KJV. Opposite the calf rests a tiny, ceramic bear that I lost when a toddler, and I was so disturbed by missing the miniscule figurine that my father and I spent an entire afternoon searching our back yard for the little object until we found it. A marble reminds me of the Iowan toy shop that it was purchased at, and the good memory of that experience rolls around the center of the plate. Meanwhile, a favorite fashion necklace in brass, red, and pearl accents with Bollywood style warmly shimmers beside the marble reminding me of beautiful Indian films with their exotic, bright colors. Across from this item, another necklace lies quietly poised in gunmetal blue patiently waiting to take a shot at any given day of my choice in resounding volleys of quick silver and cold diamond accents.
The ephemera on my dresser brings back to me valued memories of my family and my experiences. These past memories build me up while I am firmly grounded in the present, adding not only beauty to my life, but additional touchstones of meaning that help me to move into the future with courage and grace. I love how ephemera, like tangible photographs and Ed Sheeran’s song, can recall the moments, past and present, when our eyes and our hearts were/are open, preserving our memories so that we can hold them close throughout our lives. Ephemera may appear small and insignificant to the casual observer, but the reflections that our possessions give us of our past and of our present allow us to better understand ourselves and to remember those we care about as we move into the future, carrying with us the only personal treasure that really matters in the end—love.
Onna is the owner/manager/blogger of www.thelittlegreenhouseonthecorner.com and the author of Lizzie Bennett: Pride and Prejudice Revisited 1943-1946, a bestselling e-Book on Amazon.com. Onna Carr is an Interior Design graduate of Rhodec International, and she is a graduate of Shaw Academy with Diplomas of Distinction in Blogging and Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing. Onna lives with her family wherever she happens to be at the moment and can be followed via Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com/LGHontheCorner/, LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/onna-carr-1444a811a, or at www.thelittlegreenhouseonthecorner.com, where you can join her and her family on their journey.