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A Vintage Gift - Shivaya Naturals

A Vintage Gift

October 25, 2010

Beginning from early childhood, I was raised pretty far away from most of my family. An East Coast family by birth (my mom and dad spent their years through college in Maryland and Pennsylvania), we moved from Boston to Chicago when I was 6, and then onto California from there.

I never met my maternal grandparents, they passed years before I came along. My paternal grandparents were lights in my summer travels, and I loved getting ready to go see my Nana and Pop once a year.

So many of my memories of those trips revolve around the home that they lived in, and how much I loved to explore every inch. My Nana had old cracker and cookie tins that lined her pantry, recipe cards that I so wish I had copied of the food she loved to serve, and linens that adorned her home. I remember every corner or their space, every color in every room, and I especially remember the milk glass that lined the cabinet in their dining room.

When my now 93 year old Nana recently sold their home (my Pop died just after Jacob was born), she had my mom send me all of those dishes I had admired through the years. Opening that box was like taking a very long walk into the past 35 years of my memories, and so many wonderful stories have been shared with my boys as I unpacked each box (which was fun for the first story or two, but really a 7 and 5 year old can only endure so many “Oh I remember this dish, your Nana served…….. on this dish” stories).

I realize now that my love of vintage style and stores comes from the love of everything that I ever found, explored or played with inside of my grandparents space. The feeling of that time period when they first set up their home, and the care that they took with the linens, furniture and dishes through the years is something that draws me time and again to search for and recreate their style in any space I can find.

Some of the pieces even brought with them extra surprises, as I found such oddities as my father’s childhood rosary and St. Mary’s medallion at the bottom of a vase. I felt like someone who had discovered a rare jewel, fingering the blue crystals and worn medallion in my hand. I had butterflies in my stomach as I delivered them back to my dad, knowing that they too would bring a flood of memories his way.

Of course the greatest treasure in that box, and the one thing I will cherish until my own time passes, was my grandmother’s candy dish. A staple in their home, and never empty, this dish held the treats that I ran to with each visit. The dish that I saw my own father sneak from at least a dozen times, and the dish that now holds the chocolate bars that my husband loves to treat himself to before bed.

I can not pass this dish without smiling, and that alone makes it something I am abundantly grateful for.

These precious pieces that bring back so many memories now occupy special spots all around my home as a reminder of my connection to the family I love so much, and that one day I hope to pass on to my own children to cherish.

While no material treasure can ever last forever, I love how many memories these pieces possess, and what a great walk through my own childhood they have given me.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Joy October 25, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Those are so lovely, Heather! What a treasure to have passed on to you. Your children may not have the attention span to listen to your own memories of these dishes, but I have no doubt they will develop their own now that these wonderful pieces live in your home. Enjoy them!

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Healing Hillary October 25, 2010 at 1:44 pm

I love milk glass. So sweet you have such treasures in your company now.

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Sunshine Mama October 25, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Those pieces are so stunning! I especially love the first picture of the red and white together. How great that you have such beautiful pieces that have so many great memories attached to them. It makes looking at them/using them that much better!

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Lynn October 25, 2010 at 1:56 pm

My grandmother passed in August, and it has filled me with such comfort and joy to incorporate some of her possessions into my home. The upstairs hallway cupboard that she filled with sheets and towels has become an art-and-learning cabinet in our dining room. Her sideboard is now our sideboard, and displays a few precious pieces of china as well as photos of her as a young woman. Maybe best of all, her long-neglected little plastic Magnus chord organ has been rediscovered by a little boy who has begun a gleeful discipline of "organ practice" every morning before breakfast. All these things warm my heart and keep the memories alive…

(Now if I could just get the dusty odor out of all of her linens – ha!)

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Angela October 25, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Stunning gifts! I loved how you found that medallion. Those are the best discoveries. I love that milk glass and the vibrant reds. I would have hung out with you unpacking. I had the same experience unpacking my grandma's treasures. So many wonderful memories-the stuff of life. Thanks so much for sharing with us! Peace, Angela

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Luisa October 25, 2010 at 2:05 pm

That was so sweet and memorable. That's so touching to be able to touch something from your childhood that brought so many wonderful memories and good feelings.
Right now I look around and don't see anything tangible from my grandparents but I have been making bread and it reminds me of them when I visited and they would make the weekly bread. Little bits of comfort.

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Anna October 25, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Oh, I love milk glass! And I especially love when pieces trigger memories that you just cannot help but share. What a very special gift you have received.

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Kristin October 25, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I also Inherited my grandmothers milk glass collection. I just love it. I know you will enjoy it for years to come and it will always bring happy, special memories.

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Michelle October 25, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I feel the same way as I have a lot of my grandmothers things. Nice that you are enjoying them. Some would just toss these sweet finds away.

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kerry October 25, 2010 at 4:13 pm

How very special! What sweet memories. I love that you found your dad's old treasures and were able to share them with him. A gift that continues on. Beautiful!

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ItsLily October 25, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Oh, Heather, what you've stated so beautifully is exactly the reason my house is full of treasures from my grandmother's home. I love noticing the pieces and being reminded of certain moments that I shared with her while visiting her home. I know she would be delighted to see her treasured pieces being given special spaces in my home. You're such a love!

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Linda October 25, 2010 at 5:47 pm

What beautiful, uplifting memories you have found in that box, so precious:)
xo
Linda

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Tonya October 25, 2010 at 6:04 pm

What a wonderful gift Heather. Beautiful pieces filled with memories.

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Kelly October 25, 2010 at 6:42 pm

what beautiful treasures!

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Sarah Jane October 25, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I just read the book Great House by Nicole Krauss- all about how things hold so much emotion and memories. Beautiful pieces, Heather! Your grandma has great taste!

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Nicola @ Which Name? October 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm

On Father's Day, my parents gifted us with a bounty of treasures from my maternal grandmother, grandfather, and great aunt. My grandfather died when my mom was just a child, but both my grandmother and great aunt have recently moved out of their homes, so in the clearing, my vintage love was remembered. I cherish the stories that came with the items as much as the items themselves, if not more. I took photos and made notes, so I would not forget!
Nicola

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agambroult October 25, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Lucky you! What a collection of meaningful pieces you have there. I picture you lovingly glancing at the candy dish, then imagining some day when your grandchildren will run for that dish. Thanks for sharing all your family's treasures with us.

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Courtney October 25, 2010 at 9:00 pm

sniff sniff – thank you for sharing – I really enjoyed it

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shannon October 25, 2010 at 9:01 pm

these dishes are absolutely beautiful. what a great treasure. i have a few of my grandmother's treasures too and they are very special to me. one thing in particular is her china that i pull out at christmas time. they are very vinatage – white with silver snow flakes. the memories flood in and it's always so fun to pull them out and prepare for the holiday parties. enjoy and thanks for sharing…

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GinnySheller October 25, 2010 at 10:05 pm

I completely understand these beautiful memories of your grandparents' house and can share your excitement over receiving these treasures. I have all of my grandmother's old sewing things and they bring back such wonderful memories. It was a huge thrill for me when my aunt decided to pack it all up and send it to me about a year ago. Your dad must have been thrilled to receive his rosary!

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Adrie October 26, 2010 at 12:23 am

Beautiful! Your words, and the pieces. Grandparent memories have such weight.

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Sachi October 26, 2010 at 1:06 am

These are really so beautiful. Picking those dishes up, does it make your memory crisper? I find that my memory has gotten so bad over the year but if I hold a forgotten treasure dug up from some box or another, I can zoom in to a moment in time almost instantaneously.

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Valarie October 26, 2010 at 1:47 am

I Loved seeing this great milk glass collection. My mom had a big collection herself which is stored over here at my house. It's so much fun to use. Isn't it great recieving these pieces that hold so many precious memories. Now you'll have to make some new ones of your own.

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Melinda Taylor-Kelly October 26, 2010 at 1:56 am

What a wonderful gift! I would have loved to have had some of my Gramdmother's dishes. I do hope that you make some of the same dishes she made, and serve them on those same dishes! You are truely blessed! These dishes will create new memories with you children, and they will have them when they are grown!

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Julia B October 26, 2010 at 3:08 am

…thanks so much for sharing your sentiments and the stunning photos of these family heirlooms and treasures….
I can relate so much to this…. In fact, your candy dish story brought tears to my eyes.
I lost my Nanny almost a year ago and that loss is still so tangible. I find great comfort, wandering through my home, seeing her treasures, and how they fit so naturally into our family space. How lucky are we as grown women to have such strong and fond childhood memories of our grandparents, and then in turn to be able to appreciate all that was theirs as adults!??

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clarice October 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Oh my what an amazing gift, such a treasure, a heritage. This is why I love antiques because I love to think about who owned them. What memories they hold. Clarice

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Nina - Tabiboo October 26, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Such beautiful things and wonderful words – it always amazes me how a smell or a song a dish or taste – and many other things – can trigger a distant memory that comes flooding back.

Nina xxx

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Chris October 27, 2010 at 10:50 am

Just gorgeous — the items and the memories they evoke.

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geek+nerd October 27, 2010 at 2:19 pm

My grandmother had a milk glass collection also. When it came back into vogue a few years ago, I felt instantly sentimental! I would have to agree, I think so much of how I like to keep my home is influenced by my grandparents and how they kept theirs 🙂

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Shivayamama October 28, 2010 at 4:01 am

You are so right about that Nina. I often try and take in the smells and quirks of the ones that I love so that I will remember it when they pass. Hope you are doing well 🙂

Warmly,
Heather
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Shivayamama October 28, 2010 at 4:01 am

Julia, thank you for sharing your feelings. One of the things that I hope for is that in some small way these treasures will help me feel a sense of connection when my Nana does pass. Knowing that a small part of her will always be with me helps me tremendously. We are SO lucky to have these memories, and I cherish them so much.
Warmly,
Heather
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Shivayamama October 28, 2010 at 4:01 am

Melinda, I hope to make some of her favorite dishes as well! I have filled her candy bowl, eaten some chocolate mouse (one of her faves) from her red cups, and have served up her pretzel pie, but I am trying to get a few more of her recipes from my family to enjoy. Amazing how much food brings us connection to the ones we love.

Have a great day!
Heather
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Shivayamama October 28, 2010 at 4:01 am

I was amazed at how many memories came flooding back that I had stored away and had not thought about in years. It is telling to realize that something like a plate or a vase can trigger such strong emotions and memories 🙂
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Shivayamama October 28, 2010 at 4:01 am

I think that having these small treasures helps in so many ways to keep the family connection that so many of us lack from living far away. How special to have china like that to use at your holidays. Must make the meal that much more incredible :).
Hope you are enjoying your baby moon.
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Shivayamama October 28, 2010 at 4:01 am

Wow! How incredible to have your grandmother's sewing stuff, that must just be amazing.
My dad was thrilled, especially because of the story behind it. My grandparents are Methodist, and my dad converted to Catholicism when he was 16 against their feelings on it. To know that they had saved his rosary and medal meant a lot to him, and to me.

Hope you are enjoying your pregnancy!
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Shivayamama October 28, 2010 at 4:01 am

They are so meaningful, and I do envision those moments when my grandchildren reach for that bowl and create a whole bunch of new memories 🙂
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Shivayamama October 28, 2010 at 4:01 am

That is so special, and the stories are really the best parts of the experience such treasures. Hope you are all enjoying a great Fall!

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Shivayamama October 28, 2010 at 4:01 am

I am going to have to read that book, it sounds wonderful!
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Lacey November 3, 2010 at 6:30 pm

oh how i love milk glass! what a fantastic inheritance.

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Josie Holt November 8, 2010 at 9:23 am

You wrote this post on the day my Pop passed away, and 4 days before my Nana went to join him. I have never heard of anyone else refer to their grandparents as Nana and Pop. Needless to say I have found this post quite emotional!

I am now searching for the perfect purple dress to honour my Nana at their funeral on the 19th, and waiting to read the 'grandmothers journal' I gave her nearly 2 years ago. Thank you for your post.

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