4 June 2016

#GoneGreen2016 | Day 123 | Papas House: Pass It On

Day 123 / 365

My papas place has always been a place of wonder for me. When I was a child in Canada, his London life seemed like another world, with real Queens and beautiful Princesses like the fairytales told. Every time we visited as children, my sisters and I would feel a surge of history enter our blood. This is where our bloodlines on both sides stemmed from. In my late teens - when I moved to Europe to get to know my dad and my brothers better - this place I always saw as magical became my home away from home. 


My dad lived in London when I fist moved to England and I always admired the objects he had collected from his time touring around the world. After my paternal grandmother passed, he inherited her collections. She had led a vibrant life as a professor and agent of the secret variety for Her Majesty's Secret Service in the World Wars, both careers had given her the opportunity to embark on her own nomadic travels back when the world was a much larger and more interesting place to discover.

Each time I come up from Paris, I do my best to travel down to 'The Oast House' in to see my dad and his partner. My dad's full address is about 6 lines long and has magical indications for the postman like; Owl's Court, Four Elms, ect ... as if just finding it is a treasure hunt in itself. It's a place of complete serenity for me, tucked away amongst the rolling fields and forests of The Garden of England, Kent. As I've gotten older, I've found myself transfixed on the beautiful objects within the house which I've always so adored, but not sure I consciously appreciated. 

Not long ago, my dad sent me a whatsap message (copied word for word below):

" Btw, I have made Nadia (my step-mama-sister-friend), & as d eldest sprogs you & James (my elder brother) executors' of my will, so you can all decide who gets what colour socks. 😊 Ps hope you don't mind. If you not able due to whatever, you just let whoevers left to take care of it. 😎 "

I burst into tears.

Such a casual and silly message, as is his modus operandi, but I was completely heartbroken, sat crying over my phone like a child.

I recognize of course the realities of life, but I like to remain firmly set in the belief my family will remain untouched. Imagining life without all the beautiful humans who make up the members of my family sends me into an existential spin. A life without my family is no life at all, really. At least not for me. 

The idea that one day my dad might not be puttering about the Oast House was something I'd never consciously considered, nor had I ever wanted to. Obviously, I am honored to be executive 'sprogette', but I much prefer my father's socks getting sweaty on his very feet until I'm closer to my own grave than dividing them amongst my siblings and I. 

The thought of dividing up his stuff freaked me out, but I began to think about all the beautiful, curious things in his home, which had always filled my siblings and I with such wonder. Both historically and ecologically, seeing items that were already vintage when my grandmother bought them and now, likely 60 or more years later, still living with vibrance in my father's home gives me great joy. I thought about all the things I own and realized much of it, being second-hand Ikea nonsense, will never pass the same feelings of sentimentality to my children. 

I have one shoe box with a few hand painted coasters, a few vintage bits I've found in charity shops, and some hand me downs from a generous ex-boss. I've spent the entirety of my adult life hopping from one country to another and selling or donating nearly all my belongings as I go, I don't carry much of my history with me, and I'm not sure those less nomadic than me fair much better.

Everything we own is so very disposable these days, investment pieces are a thing for some, but very few people spend what our parents or grandparents did on their nest. Not many homes are a modest exhibition of ones travels and experiences, of the artisans and artists they met on the way, of ones own life story ... unless you count a tacky Starbucks mugs with a city skyline, or some wine stopper stating a city like Barcelona's name, mass produced in China in Gaudi's name.  

Sentimentality has all but disappeared from our lives in this modern world. I wonder if our children will know what my generation knew, of the mish-mash of memorabilia which really does create a home. Interior decoration these days has worked in the 'fast fashion' formula, convincing us we need to continuously update our homes in order to make our dwellings 'pinterest worthy'. I wonder what tales our Urban Outfitter / Ikea / Walmart / Target / H&M home purchases will tell to our own children about our lives, when they wander around as adults amongst our random relics. 


2 comments:

Jess | Rose & Fig said...

What a poignant post. Thank you so much for sharing. I love your description of finding places being a treasure in and of themselves because of their names.

I myself must constantly balance the gorgeous plant-and-minimalism that populates Pinterest and the prior-era emotion of artifacts and old furniture. But I have slowly become quite satisfied with a well-curated room that need not change any longer. It's truly liberating.

Holly Rose said...

I'm so glad you liked the post - I am also trying to find that same balance between sentiment and practicality but am grateful to have broken up with ikea and others like them (apart from the odd rail and hook) to go treasure hunting instead ;)