Oh, I had such an Evans moment yesterday. I’m still not sure that it’s finished. I went (at long last) to replace the glass shade that was broken when I moved into this house. And that, I slowly figured out, was seven years ago. Despite the huge amount of stuff at my place (and really, thanks to my friends, there’s more, but there’s also less!), I am not really a shopper. I acquire, but not because I set out on acquisition trips. And the looking thing of shopping that people do, so not me.
But I had to go to Bloomsburg yesterday and the lamp store was on the way. I’ve been feeling numb recently. Long lists of things to do, no sense that I will ever accomplish what needs to be accomplished by due dates. And I’m churning. Up in the morning, writing, sorting, meeting with those who need me… and the day goes on. It’s been so hectic here as the arrival of the new stuff has been an opportunity to pull everything out, look, sort, wash/clean, put in order, recycle, toss. You’ve seen my posts, you know.
But there I was. I did not buy the most expensive lampshade. Saying no to the upsell, I bought what I came to buy. But then, from across a crowded room. a brilliant flash of turquoise. Turquoise, well you know… turquoise. The exact turquoise, it must be said, that is in the rug that graces my living room floor, carefully agreed upon by my mother and father… the color mavens of 736 East Third.
Color was a thing in our house. So was fabric. So were lines of furniture, dishes, glassware, paintings. My mom was an artist. My dad, a dye chemist for a rug factory. A date who went to a play with my family came away bemused: You were all talking about the set of the sleeves on the heroine’s dress. Well, yes, they were very cunningly wrought. And didn’t every family? Well, it seemed not. Who knew? What DO people talk about?
My brother’s first wife, upon showing me a jar of peach freezer jam and at the same time talking about a “wall” of thin shelves for canned goods, was taken aback when I lifted that jar and said, “oh, my goodness, can you imagine the light in this kitchen filtered through this gorgeous peach jam???” “Your brother said exactly the same thing,” she said. Of course he would.
And Deb and Ann? you knew us by our colors. (Although I never wore the hot pink velor pants — I wore the turquoise polkadotted ones, back in the day. Our houses riot with color. And sure I wear black… but that’s only a foil for all the color.
But color hasn’t been very interesting to me these days. It’s a no-color world after your sister goes away. It will change, I know that. But it’s not going to be a quick transition. And I’m, quite frankly, mopey and overcome by the list, The LIST of things, that Must Be Done. And the shopping has been strictly whatever is needed at the moment. I forget food. I buy the silver polish. There’s TP. There’s paper towels.
Deb redid old oil lamps for us, and I broke my shade. And so it sat. But now she’s gone and I’m getting company and so, I will buy a new one. In memory of who she was. So there I was, a woman, checking things off the list. Do this, do that. sigh.
The store of lampshades is outside of town, along a highway. The owner has all kinds of stuff in that store and you have to weave your way through. She remembered the lamp (oh, a Juno, very nice. Yes four lamps, a red and three green shades, must have done it about 8 years ago. Your sister, was she a tall woman? — why yes, she did, yes, she was.) But one lamp shade a little furniture polish and I was outta there. Until I turned my head.
There it was, a vivid turquoise shade. Extravagantly exquisite. The color of my people. And she had two. Two! for the lamps for which I’ve never found anything but mediocre hats, lamps which came to me from my buddy Rocky (my home — a paean to my beloved dead) and now sit on the table behind his wonderful squishy leather sofa. They could have new hats. My house could be blessed with turquoise light.
Oh, I am in lust. I have no idea whether I’ll succumb… They would be Lampshades of a Lifetime. There would be Peace at home in their gentle glow. Shallow? As my friend from seminary used to say: “Shallow can be nice.” My husband won’t mind my being happy with lampshades, but he won’t understand it. His people came up buying antiques, took pride in not wearing something until it had weathered in the drawer. Pondered long and hard before buying something. Traded in antiques. Useful antiques. I come from a family where my dad would successively put on every new present he’d gotten at Christmas time, and there he’d be a sweater over his robe, a hat, new mitts… in a place with beautiful carpets on the floor and fine lines, color and fabric on the furniture.
Lust for life, a reminder that I am alive and that there will be life after my sister’s death, and because of her profligate extravagance? Mine will be filled with beauty, fine lines, color and fine fabrics. And maybe turquoise lampshades. Maybe. There is Peace in lampshades, you ask. Oh, yes. Beauty is not a sin. Neither is abundance. It’s all about how you hold it and how you share it.