Of Homes and Cupids


Photo taken by Trisha

A few months ago, I assisted my family in cleaning out my Grandma’s
house.


I unearthed centuries of photos, enough linens to outfit the Republic of Uzbekistan, and pots and pans that are older than I. (Additionally, I discovered a handful of crocheted items I am still unable to identify.)

And I realized with a sort of startling clarity one major difference between homes today and homes from 60 years ago:

Home, then, was where the heart was. Home, today, is not necessarily where the heart is.

Grandma’s house was full of items for each of the holidays—including wax candles in the shape of cupids and a crocheted holiday village larger than New York City. Whole dressers were designated for hospitality—holding pristine table cloths and carefully polished silverware. Years of accumulated calendars and greeting cards signified a full life of caring for friends and family.

And a fairly logical part of me wanted to move in and pick up where she left off when she moved into the retirement center.

In my opinion, the fact that yesteryear’s holiday celebrations have been replaced with today’s work obligations, that yesterday’s hospitality has been replaced with today’s night at the movies, and that yesterday’s greeting cards have been replaced with today’s e-mail . . . is not a sign that we’re moving forward. It’s a sign that we’ve lost touch with what’s important to the health of our families.

If I had it my way, I’d rather live next door to June Cleaver and socialize with Margaret Anderson than pay an impressively high mortgage or afford the “stuff” that too easily and too briefly satisfies.

There’s no way around it: home is important. I see no disconnect between the rise in crime and growing numbers of latch-key kids. I see no separation between competing salaries and growing divorce rates. I have no trouble accepting that families aren’t as close, since so many of them gather for their evening meal around a fast-food booth.

We have better technology, more opportunities for education, advanced methods of communication, and . . .unhappy, unhealthy homes.

See, I don’t think that women—including my grandma—were housewives in 1950 because they were unintelligent or incapable of working in a professional office. I think they were homemakers because they knew something about the effects of a clean house, a good meal, and a fully-functioning home environment.

I think they were on to something, strawberry-scented cupids and all.

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