Monday, February 17, 2020


Birthday boy
Today is President's Day. Actually,
288 years ago, George Washington
was born on February 22nd. Yet
somehow I feel very colonial today.
That's something my Mother would
appreciate given Ethel was a rabid
colonialist. While certainly proud
of her deep roots linking us back to
the Mayflower, DAR, Society of
The Cincinnati, and of course The
Colonial Dames, lineage had little
to do with it. Rather, Ethel simply
adored anything "early American".
Past imperfect
Mother wasn't alone. Most of Ethel's
generation decorated in two extremes.
Either radically modern or sedately
traditional. Many found living within
a glass box made a statement about
who they were. However many others
including my dear parents felt that a
historical connection communicated
breeding and culture. Looking back,
both had their merits. Mid Century
modern is now all the rage however
I hope that maple dry sinks filled with
plastic ivy NEVER regain popularity.
Rose colored glasses
Certainly there were many elements to
this blast from the past. None of which
truly had any actual link with any thing
even faintly connected to our colonial
heritage. One popular decorative touch
were glass shelves built into a window
and then filled with colored glass. As a
child I spent hours admiring those hues
as the sun shone through our living room
window. I can still hear the clink of them
being cleaned weekly. Ethel insisted that
every single one be taken down, wiped
down, and returned to it's EXACT spot.
Restorative powers
Ultimately Mother's addiction led her
to retire in Colonial Williamsburg. It's
streets and gardens were a veritable
Disney Land for such a lover of all
things not quite revolutionary. Craft
House reproductions were Mother's
obsession. Therefore our decor was
linked to some room or item within
the restoration. We dutifully swaged
our jabots and limited the palette to
official hues from Pratt & Lambert.
Not only "tasteful" our decor subtly
reinforced Ethel's link with history.
Home sweet home
Recently we sold two pedestals
to a couple in New Jersey. When
said goodies finally arrived they
sent me pictures. And that's when
I discovered that they lived in a
split level homage to Monticello.
Which warmed my neo colonial
heart. Somehow I get all warm
and fuzzy when I see a hooked
rug or weather vane. While my
style has evolved far beyond
Americana a random past blast
still brings me "home" by George!