I remember when I was a child how much I loved my grandmother Rose Silverman's things. They were not just the functional plastic items, earthenware and stuffed sofas that most families had when I grew up. All of the furniture and things in her apartment were 'alive' with romance, magic and beauty.

For instance, there was statue of a beautiful lady that stood in her hall. Actually, she was a 'bust'. That meant that her shoulders, a bit of her bosom, and of course her head were all carved in ivory. She was so wonderful, with perfect features and a delicate smile. She rested forever on a black marble column that had streaks of light colors running through it. I loved her and I wanted her to be mine! I begged my grandmother, "Please, may I have that statue someday?"

She promised it to me, but reminded me that the reason it was white on black was that originally there had been two statues. Over the years, each had fallen over. The base of one broke and the head of the other, so I would need to be careful and always watch that children did not fall near the statue. They could hurt themselves or break her. Even with the warning, I wanted her. I promised that I would be careful.

Her furniture also had such presence. The front hall chair was carved dark mahogany. It was big and shiny and very heavy. It felt like it had meaning, not just a place to sit. Perhaps fascinating people had sat in it; perhaps stunning women in long white dresses holding parasols, even.

Likewise the buffet cabinet was full of smells--various liquors and chocolates that had left strange and appealing perfumes over many years. It had a real presence. After all, there was a garden of aromas inside as pungent and real as the flowers outside.

Everything she had was so intense. She had beautiful colored glass plates in greens and blues. She had silverware that had mother-of-pearl handles. She had real linen tablecloths. She even had a set of the Book Of Knowledge, filled with endless stories, poems and answers to my most remote questions.

Yes, her apartment was to me, an entrance way to beauty, fantasy and knowledge. It was Feng Shui before there was such a thing in our country.

That was then, and now is now. I am happy to report that Ms. Statue is in my living room as proud as ever. I have fake flowers in front of her to make it hard to get too close to her! So far there have been no accidents. The buffet is a resident also, now holding our small liquor supply. The silverware is here, used on only the most special occasions. The colored plates and the linens are gone, but the Books of Knowledge are right behind me in the computer room.

My grandmother helped me find beauty and welcome it as a permanent being into my home. She helped me feel good about putting beautiful things together and living with them everyday. By the way, her hall chair is my patient's chair in my office. So indeed it has heard many a story and keeps all its secrets!
If you have been as fortunate as I to fall in love with some items that eventually came down to you in the family, take some time to hold, look at and treasure them once again.

Whether you have the actual items or not, gather your family and share stories about times past and make sure you include in your story some descriptions of the way things looked, the atmosphere, the actual 'Gestalt' of that time period. It will make your reminiscences even more vivid to your listeners, can best of all even more vivid and wonderful to yourself.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Holstein is the originator of THE ENCHANTED SELF(R) and a positive psychologist in private practice since 1981. She is the author of The Enchanted Self, A Positive Therapy, Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU!, Delight, and now The Truth (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything).

Dr. Holstein speaks on radio, and appears on television in NY and NJ. Her websites are www.enchantedself.com . www.thetruthforgirls.com and www.positivepsychologyforwomen.com . She gives lectures, seminars, teleclasses and her quotes appear often in national magazines. She has two radio shows archived on www.internetvoicesradio.com , Kids, Tweens and Teens, A Positive Psychologist Looks at All Three and Happiness for Women Only! She is the official guide for positive psychology on www.selfgrowth.com

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