If I were to do an inventory of my home of 42 years, I would get a grip on what should be thrown out, given away, or kept. The older I become, the more difficult it is for me to make these decisions. I attempted making a list of personal items I would like each of my sons to have (not that they wouldn’t get rid of them after I am gone) and have started thinking about items to bequeath to grandchildren. I believe I know which son would be happy to acquire books, which son would gladly be the custodian of genealogy records and old pictures of ancestors, which son/sons might like certain art or their father’s photography, or which son would like a special piece of furniture.
There are three items that come to mind—aside from the dress I wore when I married, which no one would want—that I find laughable to even consider keeping. One is a heating pad I have had since I was a teenager that followed me to college and marriage. (If you have to ask why, you are not female.) Lately, it has come in handy for back aches. I kept a portable, manual typewriter I used in college, and when my children were very young, I used it to type stories when I thought I could become a writer. It sat in a closet for years as did other unused items like my mother’s winter, fur-collared coat and my husband’s father’s overcoat among other items reaching the half-century mark or older. All are possessions my husband and I can’t seem to part with.
I was ready to get rid of the typewriter during the remodeling of our home, but my husband talked me out of it. It was a good thing because a 9-year-old granddaughter, who uses all the latest technology, became fascinated with typewriters, so I gave her mine. She was excited and banged away on it. Maybe she will become a famous author someday. She also inherited my 53-year-old ballet toe slippers.
My favorite relic is relegated to a cabinet in my bathroom. The Clairol mirror is 55 years old (at the time I wrote this in 2018, it still worked). The lights have never burned out, but it is rather worn-looking. Like a light bulb that has burned for 117 years in a California firehouse—I feel the same way the firefighters at that station feel. I don’t want to be around when the light ultimately goes out.
I was a young teenage girl when I was given this mirror I had so wanted. All I could see at the time was someone with ugly, curly hair and possibly a new blemish to try to get rid of. More often than not, I didn’t like the looks of that girl in the mirror in any light—day light, office light, or night light.
Off to college, and I started to like the appearance of the face in the mirror more. The mirror stood on the dresser of my dorm room and was used every day as I primped in front of it before classes or a date. When I married, the face in the mirror finally seemed more acceptable to me, and I had no wrinkles.
The mirror moved to two apartments, two homes, and was my morning companion through changes in my face due to three pregnancies, tiredness after being up half the night with a sick or crying infant, hormonal changes, life’s ups and downs—not unlike the teenage years in certain ways.
Then came more changes with the face in the mirror. Wrinkles, barely there but visible, could be seen as I reached my 40s. The face of a young mother in the mirror became the face of a mother of teenagers which added frown and worry lines.
Then I saw the face of a mother whose children graduate and leave home for college—the sad face, the smiling face, the anxious face, the what comes next? face. The time arrived to put makeup on a maturing face in that lighted mirror for each son’s wedding. Then, my oldest son tells me I will become a grandmother?! Quickly, I go and look in the mirror and slap myself for being vain and tell myself to get over it as I am old enough to be a grandmother. Still, my makeup mirror held up well. Maybe better than me.
After the remodeling, we decided we wanted no clutter in our beautiful bathroom. Not one toothbrush or “chemicals,” as my husband refers to them, can be seen. He especially hated the old mirror, so it was replaced with a new version, and it’s the only item that sits on our vanity. Now I really do need the magnified side and sometimes this is downright scary. Someone at a makeup counter said not ever to use the magnified side except to apply makeup, but, of course, she was a much younger woman.
I still question who is that person in the mirror? Lack of sleep shows more, worry and sadness show more, but so does the joy and happiness that stare back at me. I have been wondering if my oldest granddaughter would like to have this mirror, and if the old mirror would show my older face in a better light than the new one. Maybe I need to drag it out sometime and try it . . . if I can only remember where I put it!