when I lived in my old house I was happy to use all of the things I had inherited from my parents’ kitchen that they had had since they were married, and even things from my grandfather’s kitchen before he died. It seemed right, somehow. My house was old, or at least seemed old. Many people remarked on how it was “just like” their grandmother’s house. While it wasn’t just like my grandmother’s, nonetheless it reminded me of her house and kitchen. The smells were familiar and had lingered there a long time.
I had old measuring implements, and an old egg separator, a kitchenaid that was 50 years old (but still worked fine). My grandmother’s White sewing machine was in the living room. The house had never been renovated since it was built in 1961 and still had the same old-fashioned linoleum and oak wood paneling. My housemate thought it was dreadful, but I liked it. It wasn’t like stereotypically horrible fake wood paneling from the 70s. For one thing, it was real, and for another, it had a warm honey finish, so it wasn’t too dark. The whole house felt warm because of the oak molding/paneling and the way it caught the light.
Now, of course, I am in a city apartment. It is a nice apartment, but it is small and everything is new. And I find myself throwing things out through necessity, but also because it just doesn’t feel like it matters to hold onto things anymore. And most people I know would claim that this is the way it should be, i.e., that throwing things out is evidence of how unattached we are to material things. I find myself wishing to replace all of the old dish towels, which still work fine, but look old and now also, out-of-place. I’ve walked into a Williams Sonoma more than once and considered getting some nice bright new ones. I never would have done that before.
In fact, as much as I kept things in my old house, I felt that my lifestyle was actually less attached to material things because I would not have replaced much of anything if it still worked. So maybe I had some excess stuff, but it wasn’t because I was going out and buying lots of things.
I’m going to replace the towels. This apartment doesn’t have the luminous quality of my old house; it doesn’t cause people to react immediately upon entering and to comment on how special it is – without being able to put their finger on it. Because of that, it could use some new dish towels.
But the kitchenaid mixer still works fine, though it is now 54 years old.