I just read a great post at the Sartorialist, "A Walk with Mr. Barbera, Milano". I really enjoyed reading Schuman's thoughts about the strong connection between manners and style. Suddenly one of the pictures made me go all Proust. Mr. Barbera's beautifully worn leather gloves threw me back in time to the day of my paternal grandmothers funeral. In the afternoon we all gathered at the apartement she used to share with grandpa. While we were there grandpa approached me with the wish that all of the female grandchildren would go through grandma's wardrobe and take a few things each. There are four of us, I am the oldest but also the only non-biological grandchild. That he came to me and wanted me to lead the process was the ultimate proof for me that I was no different than the others. Me, my sister and two cousins went to the small walk-in closet and started exploring. I was the only one of us sharing grandma's glove size, that made me feel even more connected. I chose three pairs of leather gloves, one pair of crocheted white summer gloves and one small, black eighties envelope bag. Every time I wear any of these things I think of grandma and feel really close to her. I remember the three course meals, the crisp white table cloths, her apron, how she walked with a slight limp because of her bad hip and the letters and cards in her handwriting that from time to time appeared in my mailbox.
I have always loved vintage and objects with history and soul. I have quite the collection of wardrobe treasures from the family. My mother's aunt's black trenchcoat (it is a bit large, but if you cinch it with the belt it looks great!), brown leather "doctor's bag", sparkly brooches, her glasses (featured earlier in the post "I want these!") and a goldtoned wristwatch. She was a housewife with a sailor husband, I remember going to her white eternit house in the summer. She always had homemade cookies in a jar in her kitchen. The jar now lives in my kitchen. I also have a large portion of her cookbooks from the 20's, 30's and 40's. I have my paternal greataunt's black, long glass pearl necklaces. She was a nurse, single and an adventurous spirit. She traveled a lot, being in the time before the digital camera she bought small picture books when traveling. I have those too. Her apartement was filled with oriental carpets and objects from all over the world. I also have a gold ring, two silver brooches and one goldtoned that belonged to my maternal grandmother. She was a strongwilled woman and for years she run the local postoffice in the basement of their house. My grandfather ran a hair salon in the other room. They had raspberry bushes in the backyard that seemed like an enchanted forest to me. In the summer you were awakened by the sound of a woodpecker and when you looked outside there was often a deer standing at the edge of the garden eating the potato peels my grandmother put out for them. Occasionally there would be a moose or two eating away at the old pear tree. I don't remember ever tasting a pear from that tree. But I remember playing badminton with grandma on the lawn. All of these women are dead now, but at least I can carry a piece of them with me.