Sunday, May 20, 2012

Politically incorrect tea towels

Occasionally it is brought home to me how much of a Yankee I am, transplanted down here in the deep south.  I got all the way from the Monday to the Sunday tea towel without realizing what I was looking at.  There were many fine needle workers in my husband's family, and these were made by his Great Aunt Lorene, probably in the 1950's.  We have found many treasures in clearing out my father-in-law's house but this collection is my favorite.
They tell the story of a little black girl and her kitten; her underpants are just darling!
She's very sad on Tuesday, and the cat doesn't look too happy either.
Aunt Lorene's workmanship is exquisite; I love her little pigtails.
The pleated skirt is my favorite; the cat always has a matching bow, did you notice?
You just know she's proud of her lace panties!
I would never have thought to render a newspaper like this, and it works so well!
Grandma Vivian was concerned about the fate of very few things in the house.  She kept asking, "Did you find the tea towels?  Don't sell the tea towels!"  She did NOT want to see these get sold.  Nor she did not refer to them as "the politically incorrect, inappropriate, or (dare I say it?) racist, tea towels"; so when I first saw them, my mind didn't go there right away.  I had to get slapped in the face by "Mammy on a Sunday," then I was like, "Holy S**t!"

I am a mass of conflicting impulses.  What can I say?  Fine workmanship and beauty were used to denigrate an entire class of people as the object of humor in the name of cuteness, which is so not cool.  They are definitely a sign of their times; historical artifacts that probably belong in a museum of African Americana.  And I would love to display them because they are SO CUTE!!!  See? Conflicted.  Grandma never had these problems.  Sigh.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I'm back, at least for now

The last time I posted I sure didn't think it would take me until May to post again, but life happens.  My father-in-law had a car wreck in January, spent 10 days in the hospital and over 2 weeks in rehab.  He also lost his driver's license, so we moved him directly from rehab into an independent living facility near his home.  Note I said near HIS home; it's 224 miles door-to-door from OUR home.  He has since made a complete recovery, so it's all good.

And then there's his house. Sigh. See Dad is a hoarder. Not the trash-picking, buy-everything kind you see on TV, just the never, ever throw anything out kind that many of us are related to. It was impossible to do anything about it while he lived there, but we have been making progress since he moved. The office was the worst.

but the whole house was affected.  So far we have recycled 31 bins of paper, 28 bins of waste, and broken down dozens of boxes.  The house has been elevated from "hoarder" to "pack-rat" status; just don't open any closets and it looks fairly normal.

And then there's the decor...  but first, we enjoyed a lovely spring.  The azaleas gave us a beautiful show this year, but look through the open door.  Yes, that's lime green toille wallpaper over robin's egg blue wainscot.  Seriously.  It was like a slap in the face as you walked through the door.

It took us two full weekends just to paint the entry, but it was worth it.  It's very zen now. 

Doesn't it have a cool door?  I painted that window, no tape, just slow and steady.

Larry had to repair the water-damaged ceiling in the hallway.  He does terrific work!  So many doors, and they all used to be bright blue.

We brought the rugs from home.  The pictures were hanging all over the house, mementos from their trip to China in the mid-90's.

This fellow guards the door.

There's even one that is embroidered.

My inlaws traveled all over the world and brought back so many treasures, many of them still in their boxes under piles of paper.  It's been a real treasure hunt.  We are nowhere near done, but the house is so much better.  We've been having dinner parties for Dad and Sabra, and the whole family celebrated Easter together in the house.  Grandma Vivian (Dad's MIL) and Sabra are just tickled that it's livable again.  Dad likes what we've done with the house, but I think he still misses his papers.