Here’s some whining: Customers seem much more interested these days in selling their old treasures than in buying new ones. I prefer old things. Old things, especially those that are made by hand, carry so much magic with them. They bear the energy of the makers as well as those who have used and handled them over the years. They carry a patina of use and years that adds depth and interest. It appears to me that these days many people are not interested in what is beneath the surface, but choose to remain on the surface, both in ideas and in home decor. Clean lines and surfaces and modern decor without a personal touch are in vogue. Modern and Midcentury are the most popular styles. I like neither, and am tired of seeing homes that all look alike featured in home decor magazines and on every HGTV show.
I don’t know about you, but I have very vivid dreams. My dreams are often a reflection of the themes I encounter during the day. Two nights ago I had a crazy dream narrated by HGTV diva, Joanna Gaines. In this dream Ron and I and my children (who were still little) bought a house in a crowded neighborhood. The model looked okay and seemed to present lots of opportunities for personalizing the home. Joanna, of course, wanted to help me decorate. When the house was ready for us to move in, I was horrified. The ticky-tacky structure was poorly built, smaller than I imagined, and had almost no yard. Most of the walls were covered with sticky pine paneling, and the few not dark brown were covered with garish wallpaper, selected by Joanna. I felt defeated and turned to Ron for a solution, because I couldn’t live in such a place. He applied “a pretty fresh coat of paint” (using Joanna’s words), and in no time the house was ready for us to make it our own. We filled the place with folk art and antiques and it was colorful and fun, even though it was still jammed into a small lot.
While I often dream about decorating, many of my dreams have a darker content. Last night I had a dream where I am lost in NYC subway tunnels trying to get either to somewhere in New York City or from the city to New Jersey where I lived for a time. In this dream, which I have frequently, the subway tunnels are dark, dirty, and damp. There are many other people in the same boat, looking for the correct train. There are food vendors near the entrance to the station, and I am tempted to buy baked goods, a hot dog, or Chinese food, but wonder if it will be safe, so I don’t, even though it smells amazing.
I am rushing because I do not want to miss my train and I am feeling a bit panicky. Each level takes me lower and lower, and trains are coming and going, and I am not sure where the train I need is supposed to stop. I come to a well-lit waiting room and sit down to catch my breath. Suddenly The Property Brothers come into the room. I call out, “Hey, Property Brothers! I am a big fan.” (This is not entirely true. I don’t like their style and they seem rather goofy). They smile and wave. I don’t question why they are looking for a NYC subway.
I resume my downward spiral looking for the right train and bump into my good friends Jamie and Bryan, who are also looking for a train. A train pulls up and Jamie says, “This is it! Hurry!! Get in.” We sit down and after a time, the train comes to the surface and we have no idea where we are. Someone says, “Oh, this is Queens.” But someone else tells us we are in Chicago. We stay on the train and decide we will wait to see if we see anything that looks familiar. I wake up sweating.
Freud would have a field day with this dream. To me, though, it just shows that no matter how deep I go, looking inside for answers about where I should go and what I should do, I am unsure how to find my way. Life is tricky and scary now, and most of us are concerned about what to do. Values we grew up with seem meaningless and forgotten, and it seems like 1984 in too many ways. I worry about what the future holds. My refuge is in old things and handmade things: things that have stood the test of time. I snuggle into my worn leather chair and wrap myself in an old handmade quilt. I sip coffee from a mug made by a person I know and I feel comforted. Come by Chifferobe and stock up and your security blankets.