05 July 2012

Marianne Sloan's Treasures


When I got the call three weeks ago that my mother had been taken by ambulance to hospital I didn't rush across the continent to home right away... after all, my aunt, cousins, nephew and niece were close to her and could keep me updated. But after just a few uneasy days I jumped on the quickest flight I could get and came to her.

She's elderly... 94. She had choked, and she is now in Rehab getting all kinds of therapy. I have entered that world where I am the parent and she is .. sort of... the child. Her future is really unknown.. she may stay in Rehab for 100 days, or she may be released in a week. She wants to go home. I am spending a lot of time at her home, trying to put together a plan that will keep her happy for her last years.

She is strong, alert, sturdy and stubborn! She is lovely, charming and utterly unique. She is quite smart and takes a dim view of those who try to patronize her!

I took a few minutes today while the rains fell outside and with my iPhone, took pictures of all the things that are so precious to her in her living room, the same one she has inhabited for the last fifty years. When I look at her collections, her colors, her artlessly chic way of arranging her things; her love of silver, of sculptural things from nature, of found objects that appeal to her.. I suddenly see myself!


my mother... by the way, her name is Marianne Sloan... loves silver, and especially loves
sea shell motif in silver...as you can see!

my father brought this silver figure of an Asian
peasant with a detachable walking stick home to
my mother after the Korean War

my mother had a thing for gargoyles after
living in Paris as a child; this is one of her favorites;
in the back are two jugs from Constantinople where they lived
when her father was a director
for the Near East Relief effort; an old
glass hurricane to the right


in her secretary I found this piece of driftwood sharing space
with two old tiles she loved, and my grandmother's
silver napkin ring from her girlhood in Savannah

on top of the long bookcase are my mother's mantel clock and her Minton soup tureen

the triangle is the flag that draped my oldest brother's coffin when he
died as a young man; the large framed baby quilt
dates from 1834 and was handmade
by my mother's great, great-grandmother


the abalone shell interior looks beautiful with
Mom's japanese parasol, blue glass jug
and silver framed portrait of my
beautiful grandmother Amie

my mother put these silver balls in this
old hanging lantern several decades
ago; they have been here ever since!

her collection of shells and old bricks smoothed by the sea that have washed
ashore greets you when you come in


my mother's passion for driftwood in fantastic shapes along
with her love of simple windows.. never one for anything more
elaborate than osnaburg curtains... are actually quite
contemporary in feel!

my mother's grandparents along with a
little German angel and a small
Venus de Milo are tucked together
in a corner of her secretary

the rain splashing on her front walk,
and the same welcome mat that
has been there for decades!


***



thanks so much for visiting!... Kit



28 comments:

  1. The personal and the person are completely intertwined aren't they. What beautiful vignettes Kit, I wish your mother well and I hope she enjoys her blog post!

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  2. My mother is 88 years old and weak, I am pretty much impressived after reading your article. Hope that everything may be alright around you and especially your mother is well. Here rainy season has set in. . wet,hot and high humidity. cheers. Eileen SY,seoul korea.

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  3. This is a beautiful way to look at your mother's life... how a person becomes part of the objects and memories that surround her. I cross the ocean myself, quite a few times a year to keep an eye on my parents, being an only child is not always easy... I wish your mother well, and a speedy return to he beloved home

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  4. This is touching and both visually and literally beautiful as a tribute. The vignettes are timeless and I suspect you got your "eye" for beauty from this wonderful mother. My heart goes out to you both--I hope her remaining years are filled with love and good health.

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  5. A beautiful collection of keepsakes and memories. Lovely images of your mother through her treasures.

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  6. What a precious and endearing post! My goodness, 94, that was a bit of a surprise.. good for her!! I do love her silver shell collection - she certainly looks to be a woman of exquisite taste and I imagine she's got some good stories to tell. . those images are proof positive!
    All the best to you as you work through this stage - she's lucky to have you!
    XO
    Jan

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  7. Kit what a special journey you have taken us on with your Mothers' treasures. She is a wonderful lady!

    My 82 yr old Mother has just been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, so let's pray for Mothers everywhere who have loved us and guided our lives.

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  8. Hi Kit: I do know what you are going through. My Mother is not well at all, with 24/7 care. I'll be going up to her house the end of the month...and you have made me think of the images I could take of her collections also. She has so many stories to tell: I only hope there is still time for me to get there and hear a few more.
    Best wishes to you and your Mother....

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  9. Lovely tribute to your mom. My mom is younger than yours, but has been unable to speak since a stroke 11 years ago. I miss hearing her voice so much. Thinking of you.

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  10. Your mother sounds wonderful and her treasures are absolutely beautiful!

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  11. Thank you for sharing your mother's beautiful eye with us. Such an intrinsic affinity for the lovely is rare. You have a real treasure. I wish her well.

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  12. Thanks for sharing beautiful treasures!

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  13. What I love is that her treasures are so personal and valued for their family relevance not just their financial worth. Wishing you and your mother well.

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  14. Anonymous13 July, 2012

    My mother just died now at the age of 69. It was a massive heartattack, and nothing could fix it. I have yet to go trough her tings, and i dread it! she has leaved her last 20 years with a man thats not my father, and i cant destroy his home either! but i want to see trough her things, i know she has some stuff from my grandmother, amongst other things.
    be glad your mother is alive while you do this, you can actually ask her about the history of these things !

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  15. I love the collection of money from your mother is beautiful!

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  17. Kit, I love this post.
    Your mom reminds me so much of myself :)
    I can just imagine my son remembering me through the treasures I have found and cherished, many of which are "God's Art" like hers.
    Thank you for the glimpse into her soul.
    Love,
    Terri

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  19. Oh dear, I have been down this path! I hate this part of our parents life, but on the other hand it makes you really delve into their lives and then you see yours... Its a beautiful thing. She has so many wonderful things a lot of the same things my parents had. Things brought back from Korea-we have those, too. Best wishes for your mom and your family. Help make her days wonderful and the time you spend with her now will help you later. Thinking of you.
    Nancy
    Powellbrowerhome.com

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  22. very very beautiful silverware with marine motifs.

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  25. GREAT POST:)
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    Have a great week dear

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  26. If my Mother fell ill close to the end of her life you can bet you bottom dollar I'd be on the next plane.. We have very little time with our parents who guided and shaped our lives to what they are today. This I know after burying my beloved parents I wish to God they were still here.

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