Sunday, November 9, 2014

My Mother's Table

Readers may remember that my mother passed away two years ago. Since then, my father has been living in the family house in Guilford, Ct., alone, and he has wisely now put the house on the market to sell as it is way too large for one person. My parents bought the big, modern house in 1981 when it was still under construction. With four bedrooms and two bathrooms, it fit our family well. Not soon after, I moved to New York City, and over the years it was always fun for me, and later TD and I, to go Grand Central Station on a Friday night and take the train out along the Long Island Sound to visit my parents in Guilford.

The dining room was the place to gather for big, celebratory family dinners. In later years, my mother got the idea from a magazine or book that she wanted to turn the dining room table into a kind of salon table, piled with some of her beloved things. She covered the table with a purple cloth and put on it some of her favorite decorating and fashion books and art and cards and objects. The combination of colors and flowers and sparkly things was a real expression of her taste; it was like a little portrait of her.

When she grew sicker, she was confined to her bed. When I was visiting once, she asked me to arrange the table, dust the objects, and adjust things, so that it looked good. I did as she requested and when a friend came to visit, she reported to my mother that the table was pretty which made my mother happy, even though she could not see it.

My mother had a decorating style which was uniquely her own, and she applied it to every corner of the house. She liked light, clear pastel colors, leggy brown wood furniture, and lots of art and books and personal things around. Come to think of it, that is my decorating style too. There was a lightness to everything she did. She also was an artist who painted, and some of her paintings hang on the wall in this night time view of the dining room – 

This big painting in the living room was found in Maine and features the colors and whimsy and lightness that my mother favored –

Here is a picture of my parents sitting in that chair on the right –

My father is currently considering a move to Colorado where he would live near my sister Cynthia. My mother's table is gone now. To prepare the house for sale, a stager came in and rearranged things for potential buyers. According to conventional wisdom, a lot of personal items were taken out of the house so that a buyer can see the possibilities. The collection my mother arranged was disassembled and the dining room table was laid with white dishes and silverware, as if awaiting diners to sit. My father reports tonight that a family came today to view the house and liked what they saw. And so begins the end of an era.