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Cherished Keepsakes
by Ann Ipock

As I get older, I find myself becoming more and more sentimental. One way this sentimentality shows is Iím starting to search for and collect family pieces Ė giving them new life and giving me a sense of happiness.

While recently cooking in Mamaís kitchen, I came upon her old, worn-out metal sifter. With years of use, it showed worn, rough edges and even a little rust. I noticed a squeak when I turned the handle (though it worked fine).

Mama said I could have it, and Iím going to place it on top of my kitchen cabinets along with my baskets, bottles and ivy. Just knowing Mama used that sifter a million times baking lots of goodies (chocolate pound cake being her speciality) touches my heart.

Over the years, Iíve been given many family treasures: Roseville vases and a McCoy cookie jar, even the omelet pan of Mary Ipock (my late mother-in-law).

But one of my favorites is the wooden rolling pin Mary gave me. Itís hand-carved, heavy and smooth with constant wear from years ago. It belonged to her mother, and Mary used it often to roll out her scrumptious dumplings for chicken and dumplings.

I now visit my parents more often Ė we relocated to North Carolina to be closer to them a year ago, and the drive is only one hour. And as I become older, as do they, I find I enjoy going to their home, plundering and rummaging, looking for rarely used and often forgotten items that have tremendous sentimental value for me. Iím also blessed that my parents are extremely gracious and sharing. A sifter here, a pitcher there, a small statue. I am reusing and restoring pieces that are often just collecting dust Ė Granny Pinkyís black iron skillet notwithstanding.

My mother was an excellent seamstress, and she sewed most of our clothes, as old black-and-white Easter photos (dresses, hats and gloves) can attest.

A few months ago I spied in a closet the wonderful comforter Mama had hand-stitched in a fancy tulip design. The comforter is white-on-white with a lovely scalloped edge. It was made for a king size bed, and my parents now have a queen bed. I asked Mom if I could take it home, and she said yes. I placed it on my guest bed, complete with the matching shams and the exquisite heirloom dust ruffle that she once crocheted for me. Itís made of tobacco twine in the Southern pineapple motif. Is it just me, or do my guests now sleep better?

On a recent visit here, our oldest daughter Kelly asked me if she could have a modern, colorful Bella Sera ceramic vase with the matching salt and pepper shakers that Iíd stored. The black background is decorated with swirls of purple, red, turquoise and bright yellow and goes perfectly in her colorful kitchen. I love seeing it when we visit.

And soon, Katie, our youngest daughter, will be living here temporarily, after completing grad school at LSU. Sheíll be setting up house somewhere, though we donít know exactly where. It all depends on where she finds a position as a flutist with an orchestra or ensemble. But Iím already wondering what special item(s) sheíll want to take.

Perhaps sheíll choose the darling white drop-leaf table sheís using at college now. I found it at a garage sale right after Russell and I were married. I paid only $10 for it (though I paid $40 to have the seven layers of paint stripped). Thereís something special about the table, and everyone who sees it says so.

All of this nostalgia, summed up for me, goes like this: From one home to another, mother to daughter, and so forth and so on, keeping the memories alive. Itís sort of ďA Circle of Life Through Cherished Keepsakes.Ē


Today's Grandmothers...
Leaving Plane Phobia Behind
Inattentional blindness
Salute to SouthMouth
Aging mailbox...
Family follies...
That blame gossip
Adult braces! What fun!

Ann M. Ipock, author of Life Is Short, But Itís Wide (In The Southern State of Reality) can be reached at amipock@sc.rr.com.

Whether we are hearing about Annís unspeakable accidentóthe time she got the mayorís mustache caught up in her dental hygiene polisher, her view on prissy Southern women who actually resort to toothpicks after mealsó(those thick fake nails just canít possibly remove spinach from oneís front teeth), or her frustration with sticking to a budgetóthe normally-$100 supper club night she hosted which turned into a $2400 remodeling job (blame it on the new carpet), we can only think of one thing to say, ďTell us more!Ē

Life Is Short, But Itís Wide (In the Southern State of Reality) is Annís second book of humor columns. Published by Carolina Avenue Press, the book was released in September, 2003. Her first book was entitled What Was It I Was Saying? She is a regular contributor to Sasee Magazine, and she also writes for Pee Dee Magazine, Strand, and Gateway Publications. She is active in community theatre, where her favorite role to date was that of Truvy Jones in Steel Magnolias. Her day job consists of being a home-based, self-employed medical transcriptionist for twelve years.

Visit Annís WEB SITE to read more of her delightful columns.


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