Last summer when I visited my sister, we spent an afternoon visiting the Shelburne Museum, where we toured the 1950 House. What really made it fun was how familiar everything seemed, mainly because our grandmother's house in Orange is still very much the same as this recreated dwelling. A near duplicate of the refrigerator in the 1950 kitchen photo was in the Orange kitchen until it had to be replaced just this past fall. Recognizing all sorts of similar items preserved in a museum setting, gave me a new appreciation for familiar items in Orange which otherwise just seemed like regular stuff - the big glass cookie jar with the peanut handle on top where Grandma Pete's famous molasses cookies are always stored, the Peter Pan peanut butter yellow and red tin cans with handles we carry when we go blueberry picking, or the cupboard full of various-sized, thick green glass dishes with tops, that make storing leftovers way more fun than with Tupperware. The bedroom had maybe my favorite reminder of Orange - a lamp combination consisting of a round, three-legged, wooden table which had a pole on one side with holes in it. The light had a short pole of its own which could be inserted into whichever hole was the desired height, depending on whether you were sitting in a chair or maybe reading in bed. I read countless books by a light just like that while eating molasses cookies from a plate on its handy table, but I'm not sure where it is now. I guess because these things always seemed so common place, my Mom has never understood how some such items come to be collectibles, sold in antique stores for surprisingly large amounts of money.
Yesterday I did some errands in Cambridge and ended up on Mass. Ave. at Abodeon, my favorite store for 20th century modern designs in furniture and housewares. I always start off to the right as I enter the store, looking over the newly produced but classic designs, and then weave around past the jewelry and furniture to the authentic 60's and 70's housewares. Now I've seen the stacks of bright-colored plastic Heller dinnerware for sale there before, reminding me that the orange and purple service for eight I gave Michael to use in his first apartment might have been nice to have saved. What brought me up short though, was a simple white metal bowl decorated around the top with drawings of all kinds of fanciful mushrooms. As I reached for it, I chuckled, thinking of its exact duplicate, received as a present in the early 70's and sitting right now on a shelf in my kitchen cabinet. When I saw the price tag of $125 I practically yelled out loud, 'What? Are they crazy?' Then realizing I was the one precipitously close to appearing a bit insane, I laughed quietly to myself, and knew I was my Mother's daughter.