Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Things We Keep No Matter What




My goal over the last year has been to reduce my possessions by half. I gave away half my skillets and kitchen things, then moved on to bedroom closets and garage shelves. Still, there are a great many family things I'll keep no matter what.
This plate was painted by my mother-in-law Jessie in 1979. I like to hang it during Christmas and throughout the winter. I guess this is why Jessie had so many brushes in this old, stained-up wooden bin I showed in the last post.
I put the paint brushes under a cloche and plan to hang the winter painting on the wall above it.
Jessie was injured during birth by the doctor, which resulted in her right arm being paralyzed and stunted in growth. You might notice her disability when you first meet her, but you seldom remember it later because her talents greatly exceed her slight limitations. Here she is riding shotgun a few years back.
My in-laws (both 4th or 5th generation Texans) had only one child, Wild Bill, and he was born on his father's 24th birthday. Now, here's the coincidence...a few years later, way far out in California, I was born on his mother's 24th birthday. 
Wild Bill and I met later in life, and we got married a few months after his parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They'll be celebrating their 70th this year, and we'll be celebrating our 20th shortly after. Time flies!
When she was younger, despite having only one usable arm, Jessie painted and fired pottery and won many blue ribbon contests. She sewed quilts by hand and her stitches are tiny and perfect. She writes beautiful poetry and, at one time, wrote freelance for American Greeting cards. And she doesn't stop learning. In her early 90's now, her cell phone and laptop are always within reach of that one good arm.
If you ask Jessie where she got the confidence to live life so fully, she tells you about her mother who didn't see a disabled daughter... just one who needed to learn to do everything in her own way. 

In this season of Thanksgiving and downsizing, I'm thankful for my mother-in-law and all the family things she has handed down to me. I have boxes full of her blue ribbons, her old family pictures and her poems...I treasure her quilts, paintings, and her most precious son...all things I will hold on to no matter what.



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24 comments:

  1. Aww. This is so sweet. I love this story. My Bill is called Wild Bill sometimes. I'd like to see this at Monday Social if you haven't linked it up already.

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    1. Thanks Katie. I linked it with your kind invitation.

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  2. The painting is fabulous, by the way.

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  3. This is so sweet. I've been thinking about this exact subject lately with our move. It's interesting what is important and what is not when you are trying to get rid of a few things. You picked the right ones. :)

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  4. Beautiful post. I love the painted plate, what a treasure. She is certainly one very talented lady.

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  5. She sounds like a wonderful person!!! That plate is just wonderful.

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  6. Oh my! Tell us more about your MIL. Better yet, I hope you (or someone) will compile her life story! How inspiring.

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  7. I love this post!
    What an amazing woman.
    You definitely know what is important AND I love that you honor it and display it.
    I know people who keep things they say that they treasure and yet these things never see the light of day.
    How can they be treasures if they are in some box in a garage or basement?
    You truly honor these treasures.
    Yep. This post makes me happy!
    xoxoxoxoxo

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  8. Lovely things. I wouldn't part with them either!

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  9. Such a lovely post with wonderful treasures. What amazing talents she has. The post is so heartfelt. I so appreciate you sharing her story.

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  10. Jessie is quite a remarkable woman. She must be a wonderful mother in law. : )
    Her quilts are beautiful works of art.

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    1. She made the second one with her family and friends. The first was made by her mother's sewing circle when she was too young to sew. She passed both down to me and I love them both because they tell a story of her family.

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    2. There is a link to the Drane House at the bottom of the posts on my blog.

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  11. Bravo! I'm not a big fan of reducing things,we have things because we like them, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. Love Wild Bills picture.

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    1. I agree with you Irene. I am keeping all the things that mean something to me and want to display them. I no longer want to store things away, forgotten and forlorn. I am making room to enjoy what I have, but when there's more than what I need, I am joyfully letting it go to a better home.

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  12. WOW! What a lady! A multi-talented lady that has lived life to the fullest. Given her disability she could have chosen a whole different path if she not had the mother she had to encourage her.

    I know there are things that are just oo precious to purge- I have some of those myself.

    Love the birthday date stories/coincidences. xo Diana

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  13. She must be a great inspiration to many! What beautiful quilts! I agree some things you just have to keep! :)

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  14. What a gorgeous painting and beautiful quilts!! She is so very talented!! Love and hugs!!

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  15. What a wonderful post! Your Mum-in-law is obviously an incredible lady.

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  16. I totally understand - some things are too precious to throw away. Family, love, memories are part of our treasure trove. You're blessed to have such a special lady in your life.

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  17. This is such an uplifting story. Thank you for sharing at Monday Social.

    Judith

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  18. Such beautiful memories--I would keep these too! Love the plate painted by your MIL. Thank you for sharing @Vintage Charm--pinned!

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