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Pot holder memories

August 5, 2011

New and improved isn’t always better. It’s amazing how many memories live in the old things in my house.

Recently I cleaned out my crowded kitchen drawers and tossed (or donated) everything I could. When I came to the pot holder drawer next to the stove, I stacked all the cloth pot holders on the counter, thinking maybe I’d just throw them away. I imagined all the space I’d save in my little kitchen when I replaced these pitiful looking things with a few nice silicon pot holders that would never get stained or need to be  washed in the washer/dried in the dryer/sorted in the laundry/returned to the pot holder drawer.

But then I thought of little Aunt Bert in her late 80s making these colorful lopsided woven pot holders, just to feel useful and just to use up some loops she’d found in a closet. When she hesitantly offered me one, wondering if the quality was sufficient, I said I loved the colors and needed one very much. I thought of Dad telling me he’d bought loops and a loom and made pot holders, just to keep busy and stave off depression, when he and Mom started the Culligan business as newlyweds and didn’t yet have many customers. I thought of the lovely conversation I had with the Walmart clerk in Hawaii when I bought that souvenir pot holder. I thought of my friend Lorraine, who made the little patchwork pot holder. Lorraine had polio in her late teens, used a wheelchair for the next 60 years and didn’t have full use of her arms. But her friends bought her a sewing machine while she was in rehab for many, many months, and she delighted in sewing the rest of her days. (Once she borrowed my favorite jumper, laid it on some material, cut around it and made me another jumper without a pattern.)

Smiling, I patted the cloth pot holders and put them back in the drawer. I’d like reruns of these memories. So I’ll have to save space somewhere else in my kitchen.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2011 7:38 am

    Love your blog!

  2. Susan permalink
    August 6, 2011 9:19 am

    Julie, put them in a frame, along with any hankies or other special fabric mementos. Hang this in you kitchen, and you have a conversation piece that allows you to share the history of your family!

  3. harphappenings permalink
    August 6, 2011 10:24 am

    Memories/stories exist all around us even in our potholder drawer. Enjoyed your post!!

  4. August 6, 2011 1:35 pm

    I agree. Some things are worth keeping because of the people who gave them.

  5. August 11, 2011 5:00 am

    I’m with you on this one. And looking at the picture… how could you throw/give those lovelies away? Impossible. I’m the same way with quilts.

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