Tuesday, August 03, 2010

I like the old stuff, too

Yesterday I ruminated on how technology owns me.  As I glance around the cabin, I see a refrigerator that was made in the 50s or 60s, a television that we purchased in the 90s, the wood stove/fireplace that Mom and Dad installed in the 70s, a stove that was installed sometime in the 70s, but was second hand, so who knows how old it is ... on and on and on.

The thing is, I am completely comfortable amidst these things.  In fact, I love that old Frigidaire (though the freezer's lack of a good seal annoys the heck outta me when I think about defrosting it). The stove was thought to be in desperate need of replacing, but a little elbow grease and some time spent understanding it, makes it work just fine. 

I grew up with antiques.  Mom's grandparents were quite wealthy, lost their money in the 1929 stock market crash, but kept all of their stuff.  These pieces (and there are a lot of them) are absolutely gorgeous.  Most of them live with Carol now, I don't live a life where they can be enjoyed. 

The thing about antiques and old things is that they need to be cared for and sometimes restored.  Mom and Dad got a sofa when they were married and she recovered that thing several times while we were growing up, always making it look good and reminding us that restoration was as good as recycling.  She covered and recovered our chairs, some of which didn't hit the burn pile until many years after she was gone.

As much as I love my electronics and immediate access to information on the internet, and as much as I've learned to adore my Kindle for reading, living among things that have been around for a very long time is preferable to me (stop it - I know that you are chuckling as you think about the fact that I've been around for a very long time).

I had a friend quite some time ago who never restored or fixed a piece of furniture.  If it was stained or broken, she bought new and trashed the old.  I couldn't get over the fact that she was so quick to replace her stuff!  It was such a different manner of living for me.  The funny thing is, she did the same thing with her friends and couldn't understand why she didn't have a lot of people in her life that stuck around for the duration.  I was one that got tossed aside when she decided that she just didn't want to deal with me anymore.  Oh, we're friendly if we see each other, but seeing her for the first time in 15 years at my Dad's funeral was nothing like the amount of time I'd spent with her for a few short years.

It's easy to transfer our consumable society ideals to our friends and the people we care for. We live in a terribly transient society as well.  I went to school (elementary/high school) in three different communities and to three different colleges.  When I moved away, I maintained a few of the friendships for a period of time, but over the years we all moved apart.

I think this is one of the things I treasure the most about the social networking that happens online.  I've been able to restore and re-create relationships with people that I had lost contact with over the years.  It will never be the same as when we spent every day in school and activities, but it's so important to me!

At the same time, I'm also making new friends and discovering things about my friends that I would never have known. 

I love having the chance to restore and re-create.  A little elbow grease, a little understanding makes everything work quite nicely!

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