Raised with style in North Carolina
Published on August 12, 2008 :: 2 Comments
Three or four times a year we load the kids and the dog into the van and head south, to visit my (Hilary’s) mom in North Carolina. This is one of those times. How the middle of August became one of our traditional trips to the sunny south, I can’t figure out. Although truthfully, I am wearing socks right now because my toes are unaccustomed to the aggressive air conditioning.
This is where I grew up, my suburban homestead. And if I open my eyes I can look around and identify some of my stylistic roots along with the familial ones. My parents had an interest in antiques and old things, and as a kid I accompanied them to flea markets and antique shows. They furnished our house with purchases from these outings, and I picked things out as well. Steven and I still have the little bow-front oak lowboy I picked out at a show when I was 13. I remember that it cost $85. My parent’s house also held lots of pieces that belonged to my mom’s mom, or my dad’s parents. So my awareness of the history and age of things was raised early in my life.
On the other hand, even though I grew up in the 70s and 80s (okay, I graduated from high school in 1984 — there you have it!) my parents were married in 1950, and some of our furnishings and decorative pieces were from the earlier days of their marriage. Like the coffee table in the living room, that my dad tiled the top of with little gold-flecked squares in a starburst design. Or the giant orange enamel bowl that he made his famous caesar salad in. There are also stories of things I never saw, like the complete set of Russel Wright they sold in a yard sale before they moved north from Florida, before I was born.
I can still point out the two houses in my neighborhood that I admired and coveted as a kid. And they are a true study in contrast. There is the big grey and white Victorian with the central staircase that sweeps up from inside the front door, and the lovely glass-enclosed porch on the side. A couple of blocks away there is the modern, flat-roof house by the lake, shaped like a dramatically low-slung U with a pool in the middle and tons of sliding glass doors. I wanted them both, and truthfully I guess I still do.
I like it here, I am happy to be here. My mom does not travel, so we come to make sure that our boys know her and understand where I, and they, came from. We will settle in here for a couple of weeks, and Steve will putter around and get little things done for Mom. And then it will be time to go and we will pile back into the van and head north. For home.