One Community: February!

One Community is a monthly photoblogging project where participants take pictures of their homes and communities with a theme in mind. The theme varies by month. The goal is to showcase similarities and differences in our communities worldwide.

Our cues this month come from Africankelli: Heirloom, Style, Heart and Warmth

Heirloom. I have my mother and maternal grandmother’s engagement and wedding rings. I also have my great-aunty Boo’s string of pearls, and a very solid silver filigree clip bracelet that belonged, I believe, to my great grandmother.

But do you know what my most valuable heirlooms are? My granny’s biscuit-colored mixing bowl, and the yellowed bone-handled knife and battered spatula that my mother always used when she made scones and cupcakes. When I cook or bake I feel as close as I possibly can to Mom and Granny Sylvia. They’ve both passed away in the last five years, and using their tools is one of the best ways I know to spend time with them.

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Style. Our home is not filled with a whole lotta fancy. It’s small, so we try to keep it simple and uncluttered. And we tend not to decorate with store-bought stuff — pretty much all the decor in our home is personal and holds meaning.

This little glass bird, for example, belonged to my dad’s mom, my Granny Grace. It was given to her by my grandfather after a trip he made to France, likely in the 1940s. It’s beautiful when the sunlight catches it on my bedroom window sill, and its delicacy reminds me so much of her.

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This vintage map of the Natal coastline hangs on our dining room wall, a reminder of where Dave and I were raised in South Africa and where we met before moving to North America. The place names remind us of different trips and vacations, and I love the simple framing.

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Heart. We love San Diego. Lovelove San Diego. But if there is another place on earth where my heart truly belongs, it is my Granny Sylvia’s family home in Johannesburg, at 60 Dunottar Street, where many of my happiest childhood memories are centered.

On the bookshelves in our San Diego living room, I now have the 80-plus year old house number off the gate at Dunottar street — the low gate and fence, which were replaced with tall concrete and barbed wire as break-ins and violent crime became more prevalent in Joburg in the 1980s.

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This number plaque, and those little wooden elephants too, come to think of it, are representative, and part of the few leftovers of all the years my maternal family spent in that heart-home where my grandmother and her sisters, and my mother too, were all raised.

Below is a picture of my Granny Sylvia in her early twenties, standing between her parents outside the Dunottar street house, her sisters Yvonne and Joy to the left.

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Warmth. Any skill I have with needle and thread, I come by honestly. Heh heh. My mother, grandmothers and great aunts all sewed, knitted and crocheted well. I could do all three by the time I was eight.

When my brother and I were little, my Granny Grace crocheted granny-square blankets for the two of us, and one for each of my four cousins. My mom loved what her mother-in-law had done so much that she did the same as soon as her grandchildren came along.

This blanket is Tau’s — insert link to adorable baby-Tau waking up picture here. It is perfectly matched to the colors in his bedroom, perfectly executed, as only my mother could.

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When Maceo came along, Mom asked for swatches of the colors I was using in his room. It was her way of ensuring that our adopted babe would be wrapped in the same granny-love from the other side of the globe.

Turns out, Mom never got to finish Maceo’s blankie. Rapid-onset dementia meant that she suddenly lost not only her cognitive abilities, but also the ability to see and work with her hands. So when I traveled to be with her, shortly before she died, I made sure that I found the unfinished blanket in her closet, squares neatly organized in a box with all the right hooks and yarn, and brought it home with me to finish. It’s been two years since Mom passed, and it’s finally time for me to take the blanket pieces out the box and learn to crochet again. It’s my project for the year, and it might take me even longer. So be it. My boy will need his blanket. And my Mom will want to know that it’s done.

Click the link below to read more One Community posts and join us!

The Rules: Post one or more photos interpreting the words for the month, and add your blog post to the link-up. Please include a link back to the link-up post on your One Community post, and take a look at some of the other links and comment on them. This link-up is all about building community!

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7 responses to “One Community: February!

  1. This post was a joy to read. What wonderful items and interesting memories associated with them. I have a lot of old kitchen items that were given to my parents when they got married 35 years ago and they are the ones I use the most.

  2. I agree with Nicole, this post was an absolute joy to read. The love and fondness you have of your mom & grandmas really comes through in your words and how you describe each heirloom you have of them. The last part about finishing the blanket for your mom is so touching. My dad had dementia so I know what you mean about the quick deterioration. Hope you finish the blanket this year and that with each loop of the yarn, your mom is near. I know your boy will cherish it as well.

  3. I love that your house is filled with so many treasured items. And it was such a pleasure to read all about them. And those bookshelves! Just that little glimpse tells me they’re wonderful!

  4. Love your photos, especially the heirloom one.
    I have a lot of things from my Grandmother too and I treasure them all. xx

  5. I absolutely love these photos… heirloom cooking items, framed maps, the crocheted blanket! I know you will pick up crocheting in no time with motivation to finish that blanket for your son.

  6. Having been to your beautiful home, I can attest it is warm, full of style and lovely. The number is particularly wonderful!

  7. Pingback: One Community: May! | no•bad•days

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