Friday, September 29, 2006

Symbols of home

The little sentiments of home cannot be measured with money or with market value. The pictures and the objects owned by our mothers and our families may be meaningless to the world, but hold great status in our hearts.

Take for example, the symbols of home life in the 19th century. The Victorians often would present newlyweds with things like birdcages or ivy, to decorate their homes. The birdcages were objects to emphasise the love of home. A proverb says, "As a bird that wanders from his nest, is a man who leaves his home." Birdcages were reminiscent of the protection of the home.

Ivy was often given to new brides to plant around the doorway of the house. Ivy was symbollic of loyalty and everlasting stability. If you are familiar with ivy growing near a house, you might know how hard it is to get rid of it when it begins to cover the house and take over, so it is a plant that stays with you always and is difficult to destroy.

Paintings of old home places that the grandparents used to live in, may have been given, to add beauty to the walls, but also to add sentiment for days gone by. Some people say it is not good to be too reminded of the past, but perhaps this is where some of our problems lie. We remember only the bad things, and not the good things. Paintings of our homeplaces remind us that the things that were good back then, are also good for us today: a home to come to, a place of our own, a family with its own humor and personal ways of communicating, and certain values our fathers held dear. Other things that might have been given would have been hand made quilts and blankets, or herbs for the garden, such as rosemary and sage. These things were much appreciated because, like ivy, they seemed to be everlasting
and even though they clipped off pieces for cooking, the plant had a continuous yield.

In making home "homey" it is important not to buy in too much to modern decorators. If there is something you like, use it and display it and enjoy it, and don't worry too much about it matching or being in the right style. Most children growing up in a homeplace do not remember the perfect decorating, but that the objects in it had a purpose and a meaning. My own homeplace must have looked like gypsies lived there but although I travelled far and wide, I never saw anything I liked better than my own home. Children like what they are around the most, so creating symbols of home can be very useful, especially if you move around often. These things can be placed around your next dwelling, and the next and the next, so that the family will always feel the comfort and reassurance of being at home.

Paintings by Dennis Patrick Lewan, sold here

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