At Home in Ohio: Spring 2015

I head to my home state of Ohio a few times a year. I go back to see my beloved family, I go back to stay at the farm where I grew up, but mostly I go back because I have to: it is home.

Home can exist as a state of mind, it’s true, but home as an actual physical place has a stronger claim on a person than any abstract notion ever could. This doesn’t even have to mean that your home is a place you even necessarily want to be, but it is still a place, not just an idea. A place that exists in a specific spot on the planet — one that is unlike any other for you, utterly familiar no matter how long it’s been since you’ve been there. That’s how the farm is in Ohio for me. And not just for me; it’s the same for a lot of people in my extended family, scattered across the continent and the globe. We all converge in this particular spot any chance we get. It’s not that our farm is particularly amazing, though it has plenty of amazing elements, it is that it is ours. When I’m there, I think about my grandpa, who died in 2006, the year my oldest son was born. Just as my grandpa no doubt thought about his grandparents every time he was back on the same farm, their farm, long after they had passed away.

Spring came while I was in Ohio for this last visit. We celebrated Easter and mourned the dead and dying Ash trees that cover the property, the work of an invasive species which showed up  in 2002 and has managed to kill millions of trees in little more than a decade. Death and life, as always, go hand-in-hand and even as dead ash trees are cut out of the landscape, the tiny seedlings my sister planted in anticipation of summer sprang from the dirt and cheered us all up each time we walked past this little field of green.

The days are getting longer, long enough for the kids to run around outside to the point of exhaustion, but not so long that there isn’t time for adults to sit around in front of a fire in the wood burning stove on my mom’s porch, hot tea taking the chill off a late evening in spring, at home in Ohio.

Collecting: I Love my Vintage House, Christening Gown, Toy Horse, Cookie Jar & Anchor Pin

Today’s post features the final photos and stories submitted to our I Love My Vintage ____ Contest. Thank you so much for all your submissions. Reading your entries has provided a respite from a world of meaningless, throwaway stuff and given me a glimpse into just why it is that sometimes, stuff still matters. Read on for the final submissions…

I ♥ My Vintage House

Vintage Love Contest: HouseI love my vintage house on Main Street in Mechanicsburg, Ohio. When my husband and I bought this home back in 1998, we thought we’d be here for 5 years. Now 14 years later, the house is finally on the market as we anticipate moving to the family homestead in the country. Through the years, we’ve taken off layers upon layers of wallpaper (yes, the bottom layers were quite vintage!) and transformed every square inch of this grand 1900’s bungalow to make it a wonderful home. In spite of the “old house” problems which still exist – crooked floors, cracked plaster and ancient wiring – this is our home and we love it.

— Amy, Mechanicsburg, Ohio

I ♥ My Christening Gown

Vintage Love Contest: Christening GownThis christening gown was made by my maternal grandmother back in 1953. My brother was the first one to wear it followed by my 3 other siblings and myself. Each of our children (10 grandchildren in all) have also worn it and my son was the last to wear it back in 2010. My hope is that my children’s children and their children will continue the tradition.

— Lori, West Fargo

I ♥ My Vintage Toy Horse

Vintage Love Contest: Toy HorseIt was tough to decide, but this little fellow always warms my heart. I discovered him on a dusty, high shelf in an Oregon antique shop, and I visited him many times before finally bringing him home. I love his beautiful, full gallop, and I’m sure his old steel & rubber wheels took some lucky children on some amazing adventures. I heart him.

— Scout, Gloucester, Massachusetts

I ♥ My Cookie Jar

Vintage Love Contest: Cookie JarIt was a wedding gift to my parents in 1954 from my father’s stepfather. His own father had died of tuberculosis a few months before he was born, and being extremely poor with 6 children to support, my grandmother didn’t take long to remarry. I don’t have a lot of memories of my step-grandfather since he died when I was about 4 years old. However, the one memory that stands out was from a short time before he passed away. He was very ill and lay on the sofa in the main room of the very small house. My parents had left us there for the day and my sisters and I were playing outside in front of the house. My grandmother had a hog she’d raised that was getting close to ready for butchering. The hog occasionally broke out of the small space where it was kept penned and was not in a friendly mood when it did so! When the hog got loose that day, my older sisters ran into the house. I stood paralyzed as I watched a large angry swine charge towards me. Then my very ill grandfather got up off the sofa, stepped out the door and pulled inside the house before the hog reached me. As for the cookie jar itself, I remember it in the kitchen in the home I grew up in. Even when cookies (usually store bought — Oreos! — occasionally homemade) weren’t in it, the smell still lingered. My parents eventually divorced in 1980 and my father remained in the house, with the cookie jar still in the kitchen. When he was cleaning things out a few years later, he asked if I wanted it and I gladly jumped at the chance to take it. It has followed me to different homes, different states, through a marriage and divorce and other relationships, and now, in my Gloucester home, it is still with me, sitting on my kitchen counter.

— Diana, Gloucester

I ♥ My Anchor Pin

Vintage Love Contest: Anchor PinMy grandmother, Doris Velma Driscoll, ( I just love her name), wore this pin during the summer months on her freshly ironed cotton blouse. She had so many pins! A pin for every occasion! My first memory of her was her bringing me to Salem Willows when I was probably 6 years old. This pin reminds me of her love for the beach—she taught me well!

— Karen, Gloucester

Voting for your favorite submission ends on Friday, February 22nd. To see the submissions not included in this page and/or place your vote, click the image below:

Click the image to see the other entries.

Click the image to see the other entries.

 

Collecting: I Love my Vintage Camper, Painting, Lamp, Sweater & Suitcase

Here are five photos and stories featured from our I Love My Vintage ____ Contest with the rest to follow this week. I hope you enjoy reading what people love and why. Feel free to vote for your favorite over on Facebook. (The voting ends on Friday, February 22nd.)

I ♥ My Vintage Camper

Vintage Love Contest: CamperI love my 1986 Toyota Camper, (which is) not being built anymore. Custom, 20 feet long, 8 feet wide. Traveled all over and met fantastic people. Bought in Maine, original owner used for hunting and fishing…once a year. 16,000 original miles on it. Interior: mint, wood closets, gas heat and stove, microwave, small bathroom in the back corner, overhead — above driver’s cab — held antiques. I minimized possessions…dishes, food, clothing, blankets and towels, reading matter, CDs (CD player plugged into inverter), great speakers and wonderful curtains and matching striped upholstery. ‘Gaucho’ couch convertible to bed, swivel seats & console table for entertaining guests. Great gas — 16 miles to the gallon…went south, campgrounds, street parking, rest areas, woods and on the ocean: Atlantic and Pacific…Florida, cross-country to California…through mad snowstorm in 2006, Oklahoma, Texas, etc. Wish you were here! Elizabeth Enfield

— Elizabeth, Gloucester, Massachusetts

I ♥ My Vintage Painting

Vintage Love Contest: PaintingWhen I reached my teens, I could barely stand being in the same room as my father. I thought I knew it all and he didn’t. In my later years before he died, I never apologized for being a nasty little so-and-so, but I tried to hang out with him in the kitchen and learn from him, hoping my current actions might speak louder than previous actions. One day in 1993 I told him how much I liked the painting hanging in the entryway of my parents’ home and he took it off the wall and gave it to me, nasty little so-and-so notwithstanding. That example has taught me much about being a parent. So while I love this painting for its NE coastal subject (the artist hails from Lynn – 1864-1940 – and painted the coast up to Ogunquit), I love it more for the lessons it teaches and memories it conjures.

— Jane, Amesbury, Massachusetts

I ♥ My Vintage Oil Lamp

Vintage Love Contest: Old Oil LampThe Old Lamp: This lamp is a repurposed oil lamp designed to stay in use! I have had it since I started keeping my own house…a garage sale find. I can’t help but picture folks lighting it in the 1900’s with oil and flame whenever I turn the now electrified wick-feeder.

— Joanna, Xenia, Ohio

I ♥ My Vintage Sweater

Vintage Love Contest: 1960s sweaterThis hand knit wool sweater was my mom’s back in the 60’s! It’s the best- so cozy, warm, and cheerful! Mom had good taste in elementary school.

— Julia, Providence, Rhode Island

I ♥ My Father’s Suitcase

Vintage Love Contest: Suitcase with Family LettersMy favorite vintage item is this old leather suitcase. It has obviously seen better days, having long lost its handle, covered in nicks and dents, and plastered with an old bumper sticker. However, it is what this suitcase represents, what it holds within, that I cherish. It spent many years, even decades, in my parent’s bedroom, tucked hidden away under my father’s side of the bed. It was a sad turn of events that finally brought this suitcase to my attention. I think that even my mother had forgotten about its existence. But my father never did, adding little things faithfully to it over the years. My father never spoke much. He was a quiet man, not apt for conversation unless it was about cars or motorcycles. But this suitcase speaks the volumes he never could, hiding away words and memories, holding the treasures of his heart. On a brisk November night in New York City, over three years ago, my father left us for heaven. It was 10 days before his 59th birthday. It was on the day that my son turned one year old. It was a day I will never forget. And now the suitcase holds even more significance for us all. Honestly, I have never seen what is inside. It was probably sometime last year when my mom called me, and I heard a small catch in her voice, a quiver. She had opened the suitcase and was pouring over its contents. Through tears and smiles she had re-read the love letters of long ago. He had saved every one. Letters from an era that no longer exists, that seems so far away now, but it was only the late 1960’s. There was no such thing as texting, and mom was only allowed to call him once a week. No computers, no cell phones, no email. And I am so glad, for all of this would have been lost. They met when they were teenagers. One of their favorite places was Word of Life in upstate New York (hence the bumper sticker), and that was where my mom met the Lord. Amazingly, that was where I met my husband many years later, as God brought us together in what many would term a serendipitous meeting, but we know better. This suitcase symbolizes even more than a love story. It symbolizes a promise made that was kept. A vow that was never broken. Till death do us part. I was there with my dad on his last night here with us. I watched as my mom, who had slept in a chair next to his hospital bedside for almost 8 weeks straight, tucked him into bed one last time, prayed with him, and faced her darkest fears as she laid her head next to his and waited. Waited for a miraculous healing that was not to be this side of heaven, waited for my dad to call out her name for help so she could attend to his every need, waited as the leukemia slowly took over the life we all knew. With tenderness and love she waited by his side, a picture of faithfulness until the end.

— Paula, Louisburg, North Carolina

Thank you so much for all your submissions. And whether they were cheerful, funny, poignant — all of them were so heartfelt. To see the other entries, click the image below.

click the image to vote!

 

Interiors: My All-Time Favorite Abode. For Now.

This place in Madrid, which appeared in one of the most recent issues of Elle Decor, belongs to designer Lorenzo Castillo. This vast apartment is a study in contrasts. Both old world and absolutely modern, packed with objects but streamlined, intimidatingly sophisticated yet comfortable. The more I look at the photographs, the more impressive this feat of cohabiting contrasts seems. This sort of deftness cannot be taught; clearly Castillo has an innate sense of what just works. And the fact that he knows a whole lot about art and antiques doesn’t hurt either. I’m always amazed when designers can apply layers of stuff to an interior without suffocating a room. Read the online article and view the rest of the photos to get a better sense of the space HERE. But really, you should pick up a newsstand copy because reading about Lorenzo Castillo in print is so much better. (shhh! don’t tell my blog I said that!)