Nov 2, 2013

Fall Back...Spring Forward

Since we all gain an hour tonight, I thought I would use that extra hour to visit with you all. The air turned very cold this evening and while snuggled on the sofa, I started to go through some old image files and clean them out. I discovered that I never shared with you  our visit to Abe Lincoln's home in Springfield, IL.

It has been a few years since that visit, and as I started to look through the images, I discovered something kind of funny. I began to notice how familiar Mr.Lincoln's home began to look to me. While it is wildly decorated (and you will understand the term "wildly" in a moment once you take a gander at the wallpaper), there is a vague sense of familiarity to it as well. I also find it ironic that I made this discovery on the night we all turn our clocks back an hour. It might be only an hour we turn back, but as I look around my room, here, I think my clock has turned waaaay back, so far so, that I am finding quite a few things in my home that are also a part of the Lincoln's home. 

I thought you might like to visit Abe's home, and maybe you might find yourself feeling a little familiar with some of the objects you see as well.

Here is Abe Lincoln's home. And while it isn't as grand or stately as many brand new homes today, it does have a feeling of purpose...shutters that actually work and close off the windows. Not like the new ones today which are just ornamental. Windows galore, as there wasn't electricity back then. A strong fence to keep IN the kids, rather than to keep out strangers. Two chimneys to house the several wood stoves...the only source of heat. Yes, a very pretty house, with lots of purpose.

Upon entering, there are two main rooms. One on the left and one on the right. This is obviously the room for visitors who came calling. For a man who is always shown wearing black, his house is very colorful. Mary Todd Lincoln, I am sure had something to do with the decor, as she was determined to be fashionable.

This is the other main room, on the other side of the house, where little light was getting. I apologize ahead of time for some of the dark or fuzzy photos. We were on a tour and had to "keep moving" along. But this room is more of the family room as you can see much plainer furniture...

The wallpaper is different in every room. And the rugs all seemed to have some sort of red pattern as well. 

The bedroom were very cozy and all had wood stoves...

But as I began to zero in on the items in the room, and not the room as a whole...that is when that feeling of familiarity started to creep in. (Who is that in the mirror? :-)

I zeroed in on the ironstone, of course. And the linens? I have some just like these right next to me almost within arm's reach.

And being married to a barber, yes, we really do have a razor strop hanging in our bathroom (and he uses it), along with a straight razor as well.

Of course, I spied the soap and the ironstone soap many times have we all spied those dishes at antique stores...and while we might like them, it is neat to think that Abe's dish is as common as those we find, collect, and even use.

And I thought how funny to see his old books on the table, and how many of us LOVE old books and stack them on the table for decoration? I really wish I had brought my big purse that day...never can have too many old books...I'm just say'n...

More old books. I tried to get a better pic of his items in the cubby holes, but the desk was too far away and I'm stuck behind the rope...but I really relate to the cubby I have cubby hole shelf on my desk, and it is filled with goodies too.

Heading towards the kitchen now, I stop in my tracks as I eye the beautiful ironstone and even smile as I realize I have very similar plates and soup tureens as well. Now I REALLY wish I had my giant purse with me...

Now the kitchen is where I really felt at home! I cook with cast iron all the time...Have a French towel hanging on my wall just like the one in the back. Jars, jugs, and crocks...yes, those too. And the cutting board, well, I love very old cutting boards.

And the mortar and pestle? Have several and I do use them. I have no doubt that many of you have these items as well. And I even have an oil lamp hung on the wall, over my stove, with mercury glass behind it that I do light in the winter. Suddenly my "stuff" seems a little bit more regal, and not so ordinary.

After my visit with "the Lincolns," and revisiting these old images, it is apparent how much we, as a culture, have changed. And yet, how many of us grasp for a bit of the past? Why? Do we want things simpler, even though harder to do and inconvenient? In my very limited knowledge of history, culture, and anthropology, it is in my humble opinion that while life may be "easier" now than back then, we do more. Period. 

With a quick flick of our finger, we have light. Back then, the lamp must be filled with oil, the wick trimmed, and the flame adjusted periodically, as well as the glass cleaned after it cools down. All for a less-than-perfect light. But the thing is, lighting an oil lamp took time. And while we can just flick a switch in seconds...what exactly do we do with all that time we just saved from not having to light an oil lamp?

See where I am going with this? Easy to flick a switch and it saves loads of time, but what exactly do we do with all that extra time we just saved? Want a hot bath? Turn on the faucet. Back then? Chop some wood,start the wood stove, heat up water, and fill and refill the tub over and over again. After our quick bath...what do we do with all that extra time we saved? 

I think since we get to have an extra hour tomorrow (Sunday), I am going to suggest we all use that time to really think about how exactly do we spend all these extra hours that we have in our day that Abe and Mary just didn't have? (Or rather, their servants, really.)

Abe and Mary got 24 hours just like we do. But how those hours were spent in their home were so different than today's homes. Not better. Just different. But if we seem to gravitate towards the past, the antiques, the "old way" of doing some things...then maybe our heartstrings are being plucked for a reason.

Turning the clock back one hour is always a neat treat. But we don't need to turn the clock back to slow down. We can do that at any hour. We just need to decide what we are slowing down for.

May your extra hour be spent well while you enjoy the gift of time.

From my house to your house,

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