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When Old Becomes New.

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I’m a very big proponent of sifting through your closet and clearing out/giving away what you haven’t worn in the last year.  But there are exceptions.  I pulled out these fabulous orange pants today from the back of my dresser.  I haven’t worn them in two years or so.  But I keep them for special days when life needs a bit of color.  I’m donning them with a bright green, red & blue shirt from my favorite girls next door (Selena-7, Alexandra-3, and Karolina-1.)  I LOVE it!

I was home in MN recently and dug through my MOM’s closet and found some amazing 70′s wear.  In fact, I found this orange jump-suit number that is to die for!  My mom was definitely a head-turner in this outfit with her long, feathered hair.  Don’t ask me where I’ll wear it, but I’ll think of something.  Last year Jason and I went to the “ROCK OF AGES” TONY Awards Party and I wore Grandma Ankeny’s old hot-pants get-up.  I wish we took our camera; I’d post a photo here if I had one.  Audrey was quite the snazzy lady in her day.

I love hand-me-downs, garage sale items, thrift store finds, antiques, old houses, you name it.  There’s something to be said about a unique piece of cloth or an old chair with a story behind it.  If you’d visit me I’d tell you exactly where everything in my apartment came from.  The $3.00 chair from Franklin Avenue, the $10.00 chest Jason & I spray-painted, the old dresser from the farm, and grandma’s fondue set.  You know what I’m talking about.  Maybe you’ve got a beloved pink, glass lamp from your great aunt.  It probably doesn’t match anything but you love it because it was hers.  Or you’ve got an old t-shirt from camp in elementary school that you can still fit into (because you thought it was cool to wear over-sized clothing when you were 11.)  I know I did.  My mom & dad always laughed at us girls playing basketball in 5th grade.  All these stick legs running up and down the court in clunky, rubber shoes and baggy clothes.  Not to mention the frizzy hair tied up in puffy scrunchies and probably an attempt at 5-layer bangs.  What a combo!  (Ode to the early 90′s.)

I was in Brownies for a hot second in when I was 6 or 7 (Brownies is the precursor to Girl Scouts if you are confused.)  The only thing I remember (aside from the treats) is this song we’d sing… “Make new friends but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold.”

Whenever I go home I realize exactly how long I’ve been away.  I test out the top of the well where I’d tap dance as a kid and dream of being a star.  Each year the well gets smaller and smaller, but I get a renewed invigoration every time I cut a time step on that old concrete top.  My horse, Valero forgives me for being gone and allows me atop his back for another ride around the block.  I still can’t keep up with my Grandma Greimann who is 83 and mowing the lawn before anyone else has a chance to get to it.  MOM and DAD welcome my nuttiness and let me come home with husband and doggie in tow.  We eat good food, get way too busy and the time flies faster than a tornado (and we had one of those too.)

My old room is the same, but it’s newly the baby room for my sister’s kids.  The crib lives there.  The old becomes new.

Our old “kitchen set” where we’d play restaurant is a fun new find for Brianna’s kids too.  They wear my old jacket when they come to Grandma & Papa’s house, play with our old games, we teach them new songs that are old to us.  I love going home.  I love seeing my “old” friends who are always dear, true friends.  Together we have new experiences.

We have a lot to learn from the “old folks.”  Our generation and those after us are quick to discard and try the next new thing.  With all the gadgetry and digital abilities, and often just the plain fervor of youth and ambition, we easily forget where we come from.  The stories.  The people who made things, who fought for what they believed in, who worked the soil and brought forth grain.  The women who gave birth in circumstances far less glamorous and far more painful.

Experiencing new things and making new creations is a very large piece of life pie.  There’s also history and family and friends and stories in that life pie too.  I think it all deserves a bite with delicious, frozen, coconut cream custard.  The one without the other is somehow left wanting.  Consider it a way of honoring your history and your people by creating new things, by going forth and blossoming.  Also, give the gift of richness, deep flavor and roots to your endeavors by “going home” so to speak.  There are stories to be heard and stories to share and stories to create.  These are the stories we live.  The old becomes new :)  

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  1. Lill Robinson (aka Miz Ro) says:

    Always a treat to read your newest blog and this entry was no exception, especially since it struck so many chords. My space is being lighted right now by a lamp my folks bought when they set up house in 1945. On the wall behind me is a small mirror from my Grandma Ro’s house. Everywhere I look I see something I treasure from a family member, a friend, or a favorite place. Speaking of favorites, “Children of Eden” has become a new favorite; the music is stunning and the story timeless. Your Mom was absolutely wonderful in the dual role of Eve/Mama; you would have been so proud of her. Now I am diving into several projects for the upcoming 150th anniversary edition of the Faribault County Fair. Thanks again for sharing your heartfelt thoughts and talents with the rest of us. Love, Lill

  2. MakieDoll says:

    Thanks so much Lill! I love that you have a lamp from your parents 1945 first home and all the items you described. So glad you love “Children of Eden;” I’m so sad I missed it but I am anxiously awaiting the dvd! Enjoy the fair and good luck with your projects!! Love, Makie

  3. Makie….so full of wisdom and love for your family and roots and the past and the future….great article – I loved it, and you know, I know that Uncle Scott is enjoying it as well, in Heaven….I miss him so….I think of him everyday….something old became new in heaven :)

  4. MakieDoll says:

    You’re absolutely right Georgie. Thanks so much!

  5. This comment is a little slow coming, however, I had to add my thoughts!! In the Summer of ’04 when I was working at Don’s Fleet with the ‘rents, I was always cold and complaining. So one day, my mom offered me this old sweater/cardigan of hers to wear, most likely thinking I wouldn’t want to wear it but that it would shut me up!! Little did she know, I LOVED that sweater. One of the last times I went back home to visit, I took the sweater (which was still in her office at the store) back to Des Moines with me. I wear it every chance I get and love telling people it was my mom’s from when she was around my age :) !

  6. MakieDoll says:

    Your story just made me smile Tess! I love it – and I bet your mom does too ;)

  7. I remember those pants! Great post!

  8. Miss Makie,
    Grandma says, ” I am only eighty two!” :)

  9. I LOVE reading your stuff! Your good!

  10. Great to be here on you site, really enjoyed reading this post, and look forward to reading more. I’ve recently started having a clear out…looking at recycling and upcycling..Stay blessed. Amanda

  11. Thanks Amanda! Great idea about upcycling which can be creatively fulfilling as well!

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