I sometimes think I should have been born in another time, another era. The late 1800’s or early 1900’s hold a special appeal to me. The Victorian era seems so romantic. I don’t know what it is about the past that appeals to me. I’m very fond of indoor plumbing and running water so it’s not the lack of modern conveniences that I desire. I think it’s the furnishings, the architecture, and the fashions I am drawn to. I love long lacy dresses and hand carved tables. Parasols and drawing rooms and horse drawn carriages would adorn my life. I dream of being an elegant lady who reads Dickens in the library and crochets doilies in the parlor.
My husband, on the other hand, is a modern man. He likes sleek, clean lines in buildings. He collects watches that look and work like the cockpit of a jet airliner. He has no desire to live in any century other than the 21st unless it is sometime in the future. It’s a miracle we can live together in the same house.
When I was little I remember the pale green cupboard sitting on my grandma’s back porch. It had 3 open shelves on the top with glass fronted doors and two shelves behind solid doors on the bottom. The doors are locked with a skeleton key that has long since disappeared. It is sturdy and was built to last unlike the furniture we buy today. She stored her home canned fruits and pickles on the shelves. She would send me out to fetch a jar of pickles and I loved the look of the jars lined up waiting for me to pick choose one. Her pickles weren’t like any I had ever had before. She put green food color in with the water and it turned them a deep, deep green, almost a turquoise green. It was a color that I’ve never seen in nature and it made her pickles extra special because no one did them like she did. Because of this they tasted better than any pickles you could buy in the store. When my grandma passed away and they were dividing up her belongings, no one wanted the old cupboard. I was thrilled to take it home.
My husband watched me unload it and was less than overjoyed. “What are you going to do with it?” he wanted to know. “I don’t know, maybe paint it” I answered. “I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we use it for firewood” he suggested. It became a family joke. If we were going camping and needed kindling he would suggest grandma’s cupboard. When we ran out of wood for the fireplace he would threaten it with an ax. If someone admired it he would offer to load it into their car. He sees an old, peeling piece of junk with doors that are warped and won’t shut right. He thinks it is ugly and useless. I see my childhood when I look at it. I see my grandma in her apron standing at the stove boiling vinegar and sugar for her pickles. I see a quieter, slower time that reminds me of long lace dresses and summer evenings spent sitting on the veranda sipping lemonade. My husband and I don’t see eye to eye on grandma’s cupboard but we do agree that family is the most important thing in our life. And we agree that a modern man and an old fashioned girl can live together happily ever after.