Sunday, August 18, 2013

I Wandered Through a Time Capsule. Again.

"But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either."   1 Timothy 6:6,7

Oh wow.

Yesterday at an estate sale I stood inside the aqua-painted kitchen with orange and yellow floral curtains of a small, nondescript 1950's house and sorely wished each of you, my vintage-loving friends, stood there with me.

The colors! Beside that aqua kitchen was a peachy-pumpkin living room and hallway, a 50's green in one bedroom, aqua in the other two. Most likely this family had lived with wood flooring for the first 20 years then had a goldy-mix carpet installed around 1972--incredible stuff--for it hadn't even worn down to the floor in the hall. But nearly so.

An ironing board set-up in the back aqua bedroom still had its 1970's cover, all the drapes everywhere were from the 50's, 60's or 70's and the kitchen's dishes were from those eras, also. The kitchen cabinets were all original and the formica table in the corner held ceramic roosters and carnival glass.

Such a basic, one-story, house! Most likely, it's owners never had any real money--the only update I noticed was a new front door, but everything else seemed unchanged and not even cute, actually, but oh! I wanted to stand there forever.

I realized--again--that I feel best amongst vintage items and retro colors and small rooms. I thought, "I should toss anything in our house which you'd not have found there in 1979. Walking into my own house should zap me with dreaminess this way!"

Of course, I realize it's popular for people nowadays to give-in to pressure to replace old things with brighter! Newer! More modern! stuff. And I also realize it's possible for me to go all bonkers while coveting vintage finds, for it works both ways and always there must be balance at whichever end of the spectrum we spend our lives.

And so, (reminding myself to remain content), I'll keep walking through these Time Capsule Homes and pity no one who spent long lives inside them, but rather, feel happy that they married and then created a family inside just one house, caring with a joyful type of gratitude for what they owned, never packing a moving van, never buying a larger (brighter!, newer!, more modern!) place.

Hopefully they didn't waste time yearning for more. After all, most of Life is what happens inside our hearts and heads and I step through these rooms where people laughed or lay sick in bed or loved or cried, hoping they realized that type of contentment as their lives played-out within those walls. 

And I always thank them, each one, when I wander dreamily to our car, for reminding me to create my own simple life and live inside it with contentment, joy and a great big God who makes each day unique, special and to be remembered.


Did I buy anything at this estate sale? Only two retro, like-new dishtowels. But at another sale I found this 1970's Avon piece for a quarter:

(That's someone else's online photo...). This looks very spiffy on my kitchen window sill!
Tom and I have probably walked through more than 20 such houses in all our years here in NY. Truly, a treasure from our area and I consider each experience a personal present from the One who knows what I love best.


Echoes From the Hill said...

My mom's 1950's kitchen was wonderful! The walls were a pale yellow, the cabinets were white. The wallpaper, above the cabinets was yellow and turquoise with a rooster print. The curtains matched. It was so colorful and cheerful!

I was a little girl then, but I can still see that kitchen, in my mind.

Rosemary said...

Oh, I love this thoughtful post. I imagine this little house looked like the homes in the Little Golden books from the 50's I so adore.

Anonymous said...

Oh I love your stories like this one! :-) Our kitchen growing up was white sink etc with yellow walls and red and white curtains. Always the same colors. For years one set was a fruit pattern and then a check. Nothing much changed ever in our home or our friends or relatives. Oh maybe a couch wore out or a lamp had to be replaced but not hardly ever it seemed. Pictures mainly stayed on the same walls..if they changed it was to put one in the bedroom that used to be in the hall and such. :) Nothing was mentioned about how bored they were with the same colors or styles. They seemed content to be the owners of a home and forever grateful. Through the years they raked and hammered and mowed and mopped and kept the place in shape. If something new had to be gotten it had to be gotten at the furniture or department store and was a big deal. The only alternative was to make things yourself or inherited something from a relative or friend. There were no yard sales or big discount places. Homes then felt...well homey!! :-) Loved, lived in and comfy. Most always straightened and curtains ironed and families around the table at meals. As kids we played and made t-pees out of blankets and put blankets over the card table to make our play homes. Yes the house and yards got used!! Afterwards things were put away after play and it was the way it was again.

The houses were nothing special to look at but oh so terribly special in reality. People thought of home as a place where people lived. Really lived and not a place to show off or worry about decorating and fuss over a lot. Though women certainly cared and put things in them they loved etc. People rarely ever moved and where I lived most had a relative or older friend living with them. Either in the house or in a back apartment or small house. We children had our own grandparents and many others in our own neighborhood who treated us like we were one of their own. In fact you felt comfortable in anyone's house. Yes you acted with manners in other's homes as you would not just go into their refrigerator etc but you felt were closer than just company. You were a neighbor. Your parents knew their parents and their grandparents and your Uncle was the priest and her daughter was the nurse at the local school. It was a life you thought would always be the same and you didn't want it any other way. ..and then it changed...Mills and other work shut down and never opened again and people who had lived in the same neighborhood for generations and ate at their grandparents home with all the other relatives every Sunday for forever had to move out of town for work. It is a story that happened all over America and probably the world. Sad but a reality. Forever though will be the light of what used to be and the love that still is between them all. Memories so tender yet so real, so sharp in your mind, that it is hard to think that they are not a reality any more.

Now a days home seem to change often. Well maybe not all of them. But back then they looked like their times and seemed to stay in the basic time the parents were starting housekeeping. There were things kept from things given or inherited from others and added to by purchases as things had to be gotten. A child's bed, a new refrigerator etc. Seems most home I go into now have a hodgepodge of many years of furnishings and just don't feel as lived in. As comfortable...or as comforting. Your's has that comforting feel I think from the pictures you have shown. I can't put my finger on what that feel is but it is. :) Well this certainly is getting way too long. I had no intentions of writing so much...sorry. Sarah