History According to My Mother's Decor
Turquoise! The horror of turquoise!
[Magically disappear three of those kids and make one a girl (those boys look a LOT like my butchcut/butchwaxed five year old brother; the sharpshorn Brad Pitt -- if you unfocus your eyes -- could be my lieutenant colonel father in civilian clothes. But we didn't do that icky holding-hands-during-grace thing until the advent of the Wicked Stepfather). Oh, and my mother looked nothing like Angelina Jolie with the flowing locks. Sorry, Mother. But it's true.]
My Mother's Life in Decor was neatly segmented into three periods:
The Turquoise Period, in which she surrounded all of us in all turquoise, all the time. This even extended to her car, a turquoise-with-fins Chevy Biscayne. Then there were her clothes, mostly turquoise. But it was most evident in our living room, where she played off many, many turquoise accents against black and white furniture. Mom was pretty chic then, all things considered.
Olive Green and Burnt Orange -- Her Second Decor Age -- is the one that still makes me shudder. Which scarily coincided with her Early American Colonial furniture period. We had living room wallpaper with an olive green colonial scene bouncing off the MATCHING (yes, matching) patterned drapes. Accents -- and again, a lot of them -- were in this rusty orange, and all the maple furniture had these spindled legs that you just know no self-respecting Early American would have been caught dead with. Pewter everywhere, though. So Paul Revereish. But do you really think Olive Green and Burnt Orange when you think Founding Fathers? Hey, tell it to my mother.
That one lasted a LONG time.
I had moved out and married by the time Mother went into her last redecorating frenzy. But her taste had really muted -- it might have been a reflection of her illness, actually. She was tired, and wanted calm colors and traditional furniture. Sadly, her last home decor period was my favorite. Pale blue and cream plaid on the traditional armchairs, a soft blue and pink floral on the loveseats, pink accents. She still had spirit, though. My stepfather HATED the blue and pink period. But she was adamant. And got her way at the end. Always.
I'm amazed at women who have linens, silver and and other familial artifacts handed down by their mothers. Our family moved a lot, and my mother was a compulsive seller/discarder who periodically sloughed everything off (including a husband at one juncture) and started over. There's nothing left except memory of my childhood homes.
It's not sad, really, although I would now love to have something, even if it was turquoise or burnt orange, to remember her by.
But she did teach me to live light. And I'm now going through my own Era of Red and Gold. Heh.
Today's fragrance Ivoire de Balmain by Pierre Balmain. Lemon, carnation, jasmine and fresh green leaves, accented with amber, raspberry and oakmoss. Thank you, Marta!