Special Pleasures


by Helen DePrima

Lately I find myself taking special pleasure in old treasures, not big things like jewelry or antiques from my mother’s family, but homely everyday items that bring back warm memories. I take my K-cups from the spatter-ware coffee pot that held my aunt’s tote tickets from Churchill Downs and sweeten my coffee from a green Ball jar bought on an antique rummage in Shelbyville, Kentucky with my cousins. Endless Summer hydrangeas nod from the hand-thrown pitcher my aunt and uncle brought my grandmother from the Smokies. I carried the start of the sweet autumn clematis frothing over my brick patio from my grandparents’ yard in a sandwich bag more than forty years ago.


But these are just things – stuff. I’ve also realized lately that old friendships need tending to survive. Last week my husband and I spent a wonderful few days in Castine, Maine, celebrating mutual fiftieth wedding anniversaries with friends from college, I in their wedding, my classmate in ours. Over the years, we somehow saw less and less of each other, finally only exchanging Christmas cards.


The time with our friends erased the years. We lingered over breakfast at the Manor Inn, strolled under ancient elms protected from disease by their remote location, and sailed the sunset waters of Penobscot Bay, all the while laughing over old memories, filling in the gaps of our separate lives, sharing hopes for the future. With luck and care, we won’t let fifty plus years of friendship languish again for want of cultivation.

Comments

  1. Helen, your descriptions are so beautiful and I love your old treasures. Happy anniversary to you and your college friends!!

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    1. Hi Rula -- happy that you enjoyed my ramblings. I feel a little lost without Liz's contributions.

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  2. Happy Anniversary, Helen! It's so true that simple pleasures are always the best, isn't it? The ones that have a special meaning or connection to a loved one. It's especially wonderful to see that the love for these items filters down to our children who have their own favourite things from home and carry on the tradition.

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    1. Thanks for the good wishes, Janice. I hope my daughter will enjoy some of these little treasures when I pass them on to her. She spent many happy visits at my grandparents' house and can recall them from the old farmhouse kitchen.

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  3. I love this post--how wonderful to see your longtime friends and celebrate--and in Castine, too. What a place. It's amazing how these small treasures we have around can be so meaningful. Wonderful photos, too.

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    1. Our friends live in Maine and suggested Castine for a real Down East experience. A special treat for me: I got to take the helm on our sunset sail, something I haven't done in ten years. A little nerve-wracking, but I managed not to run aground.

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  4. I have a theory we see old friends the way they looked when we first met, not as the age they are now. On another note, how do you get a start of clematis?

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    1. In my eyes, our friends have changed very little except my classmate always had long hair. A bout with chemo changed that; I love the way it now looks. Re. clematis: good garden companies like Burpee and Park can send plants. This one is clematis panniculate.

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    1. We don't look half bad, considering the years of wear and tear. So great we were able to enjoy the time together.

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  6. Your post is a great reminder to cherish family treasures and old friends. It's hard to keep up with everything, and sometimes dusting all of the "sitables" gets tedious, but passing them on to the next generation will be special. Congrats on your 50th.

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    1. Yes, people we love are more important than material items. This celebration was a great reminder to maintain old contacts.

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  7. We never regret the time tending to our relationships with family and friends, do we? Thanks for sharing the stuff and people of your life, Helen. Best!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed my musings. We're already planning more outings with our friends, maybe at a special inn in the Smokies.

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  8. I love your post--such a good reminder to find joy in the simple things. <3

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    1. Thanks, Patricia -- I always remember watching a little feature on Kaptain Kangaroo when my kids were small: Simple Pictures Are Best. I think we can all benefit from that principle.

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  9. Friends, good times, sharing. That's what life is all about, isn't it? And thank goodness you kept up the Christmas cards! These days, even that is hard to do and I find more and more people DON'T! So bless you for that. What a great photo. You all look so happy.

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    1. Isn't that a nice photo? We stopped atop Mount Batty above Camden on the way home -- a gorgeous view out over the bay as far as Acadia and Rockland, Maine.

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  10. Beautiful post, Helen. Lifelong friendships are the best. Happy anniversary!

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    1. Thanks, Jill. I still keep in touch with my oldest friend whom I first met at five years old in dancing school. Pam was a candy cane and I was a chicken.

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  11. Great post, and you're right about old friends. My 91-year-old mother gets together with her high school friends about once a month for dominos. I need to look up some of my old friends.

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    1. I'm a long way from home, so it's hard for me keep in touch with old school friends. Next spring I'm hoping to visit my oldest friend who lives in Albuquerque while on my way to Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelley.

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    2. They're both on my bucket list, too.

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  12. Keeping in touch is so hard with all the busy things in our lives. About the only people I keep in touch with from high school are four who have moved to my small town and just happened to join the church I go to. I think it's time to reach out to some of the others, thanks to your post!

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    1. Hi Patricia -- yes, getting back together with our friends was a wake-up call for me too. On the other hand, I now communicate regularly with high school classmates via Face Book. Our high school has a great active website, so it's easy to exchange news with people I haven't heard from in years. Lie fire, the Internet can either warm you or burn your house down.

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