Mom, Wife, Chef, Gardener, Dog Wrangler, Mom, Writer, Friend, Daughter, Sister, Mom, Creative Problem Solver, DIY Chick...figuring out life one day at a time.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mom/Archeologist…sifting through other peoples’ lives…

So we spent last weekend deep cleaning and clearing out the house. As I said before, this house is chock full of other people’s lives. Our landlord’s parents and then brother lived in this house and most of their belongings remain. Drawers, cabinets and shelves are full of remainders of those other lives and must be sorted through and cleaned out if we are going to start this next phase of our life here. Among the dust, cobwebs and detritus we are clearing out are hidden gems that give us a picture of what life was like as mostly self-sufficient grain farmers on the prairies of Montana. From the bathroom cabinets: a large metal first aid kit full of tinctures and swabs I don’t recognize, a poison control pamphlet taped to the cabinet door that gives remedies for ingesting anything from fertilizers to cleaners to medicines. For instance, if Lye is ingested give the victim 2 Tablespoons of vinegar in a glass of water or 2 raw egg whites in olive oil and do not induce vomiting. I’m not sure how this jives with today’s poison control guidelines, but it is fascinating.

In the kitchen are more hidden gems: an old and well loved cast iron skillet; colorful Pyrex casserole bowls from the 40’s; and a drawer full of cookbooks, most of them hand bound, self published fund raiser recipe collections from local churches and women’s groups in the area. These I am keeping in the house, to enjoy leafing through recipes for salads, baked goods, local game, and drinks such as the local version of the hot toddy: the Tom & Jerry.

While I treasure some of these things for their uniqueness or as a link to the rich past of an area I now call home, what they really are, are memories of lives that I won’t ever be able to know. I can admire the colorful threads and half finished cross stitch in an old sewing box, but I’ll never know the woman who sat in this living room sewing. Did she smile as children roamed noisily around her or sit quietly chatting with her husband about the events of the day?  Did she love living so far away from town, seeing only her family day in and day out?  Or did she feel isolated and cut off from the world?

Maybe I ask these questions because they now concern me as well. Will I like living a 15 minute drive from stores and people? Will being alone out here gel us as a family or cause tension and friction? Can we be more self-sufficient, can I learn to rely on myself and my instincts and creativity rather than drive into town every time I get bored or I realize I’m missing just one little ingredient for that dish I want to make? All questions that I don’t yet know the answer to. As they say, time will tell. Meanwhile I will sit here, sifting through drawers, imagining what memories we will build here, in our new lives, here in this house.

No comments:

Post a Comment