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Grandma's Treasures

Updated: Jan 11

My grandmother, Della Ann Aleta Hope Healey Wakefield, was an amazing woman. I adored her. She taught me about God and believed in me always, both invaluable gifts. Her husband passed away unexpectedly when my father was only 8 years old, leaving her to raise 2 young children alone at a time when that was far less common than today. Her work ethic was admirable, but even more so her commitment to service and thirst for knowledge. Travel was her passion. In her lifetime she visited over 60 countries, and passed that gypsy spirit on to me through her stories. For that I will be forever grateful.

Della was a collector. She purchased spoons and Salt & Pepper Shaker sets in many of the countries she visited. I have precious memories from childhood, sitting around the table with her while she showed them to me, and told me tales of her adventures. These mementoes were priceless to her, representing the people and places she had experienced. When she passed away I inherited a portion of the collection, which I displayed with pride in my first apartment as a young woman.

As I got older, though, these treasures were packed away. In part it was due to my family growing, which led to multiple house moves. They just never quite made it back out of the box, and lived for many years in storage rooms and attics. But also, as I aged and became more "sophisticated," I began to feel a bit unsure about decor that seemed old-fashioned or home-spun. I liked it, but thought it might not be modern or current enough. You never saw items like these in home decorating magazines, so maybe they were too outdated to use? I realize now that this is a silly thing to be concerned about. I mean...whose house is this anyway, right??? But it's a common insecurity. As a realtor, people often ask me how they should decorate to be "in." Or what smart choices are in terms of colors, etc. We all yearn for the approval of others, and to feel we are making sound investment decisions.

But...this is your HOME. Where you live, and the environment you are creating for your children and guests. When getting ready to stage for sale those things do matter. But if you have no plans to move soon, then my advice to people these days is to decorate with things that they love. Colors that make them happy or feel soothing. Items that elicit joy and feel like "you," so when you are home it becomes a nurturing and safe haven from the world.

I've been feeling sentimental as of late, and felt prompted to bring Grandma's collectables out of hiding, and back into view. At my favorite local antique shop I found the display racks shown above in these photos, and hung them in prominent places in my home. I want my kids to see them regularly. They didn't have the opportunity to know their lovely great-grandmother, but she can still be influential and present in their lives through these items and all that they represent. They bring a smile to my face daily now.

Della was a wonderful woman, mother, grandmother, and friend to all. Faithful, kind, spirited and wise. I am thankful for the legacy of love she left with me. I would give anything to sit across the table from her today and hear her speak again of Japan, Germany, Peru. Of the Bible, reflexology and my dad's antics as a young boy. Of her admiration for my grandfather. Of absolutely anything really. I think it would mean a lot to her to know that her spoons and S & P's are being enjoyed again in her honor.

I miss you Grandma, and I'll love you always.

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