Out with the old? Not when it comes to these sometimes-quirky, always-cherished home accents
The New Year sets most into motion for renewal. Resolutions and goals are made to meet the future, which is a tick of the clock away. Many homeowners will work through spring, refeathering their nest with fresh paint, fresh accents, fresh decor. Yet as trends come and go, there’s frequently that “one piece” that remains front and center. It may not be in vogue, nor match the rest of the room, but there’s no parting with these nostalgic knick-knacks anchored in emotion. Bequeathed from one generation to the next, oh, the love they represent.
“This goes back to the days when everyone wanted a pet rock.
Basically, it’s a painted pet rock. My dad was a North Carolina State guy his entire life. There was no truer fan. In the mid-70s, my sisters and I pooled all of our change to get this for him as a really special gift. N.C. State was important in our house, and I can admit, it partially inspired me to go there. Get this, the figurine has survived not one, but two house fires! See the chips? That’s from the second floor falling on it. This pet rock has had its own life. If you threw it away, it would show up the next day. I’m sure of it! I have a lot of N.C. State memorabilia around my house, but this is my favorite. It sits under my three monitors where I work all day.
Everyday, I think, ‘Hey Dad. How’s it going? Go Pack!”
“My grandfather was always my soft place to land.
He just was. His name was Spike Cooper. He was an Irish-Catholic from Charleston, just a rip! He had every excuse to be a terrible person and he wasn’t. He adored his grandmother, who raised him. When I got married and was setting up my first home, he gave me this crystal sugar and creamer set that was his grandmother’s. He said, ‘This is our most prized possession, and you take care of it.’ I’ve lived in ten homes across three states, and that set lives front and center in my china cabinet. It means nothing to anybody else, but if you go for it, I just might have to take you out. I don’t even use it, because I’m afraid of chipping it.
I promised him I’d take care of it and I treasure it.”
“I think of my momma every day, but especially on holidays.
She would always pull out her special glass egg dish. It’s not Easter unless we have deviled eggs on this dish. She would make her deviled eggs sprinkled with paprika and serve them with sweet pickles in the middle. It’s just a clear dish, nothing fancy, but it’s cute. We’d sit and eat together at the table. It was intimate family time, and we were a pretty good-size family. Momma was an excellent cook. All she wanted to do was serve the family and make special foods for each person. The dish sits in my china cabinet and I pull it out for special occasions. I make my eggs the way I remember her making them, with sweet pickle juice. It’s not a fancy recipe, but it’s really good.
Makes me feel like she’s still with me on holidays. I plan on handing the dish down to my daughter.”
“My dad was a Baptist preacher and didn’t splurge on many things. When I was young, he used to keep his pipes on a display round on his desk. It held eight pipes and two of them were fancy, white, meerschaum pipes. He didn’t smoke the pipes a lot, but when he needed tobacco, I’d get to go to the store with him and it always smelled so good. I would walk along the counter and explore the humidors. When dad passed, my brother and I both held on to a couple of the pipes each. I keep mine on top of my dresser in the bedroom. It reminds me of him every day as I get dressed. We all miss him.”
Buckets o’ Love
“In the early 1900s, my mom’s grandfather owned Balentine Packing Company on Court Street.
They specialized in ham, bacon, pork sausage, and lard. All the housewives in Greenville wanted the lard because he used modern machinery that filtered the lard and removed impurities. It was a lot better than the lard made out on farms. Each arm of the family tree has a one-foot-high, eight-pound lard bucket. I’m the fourth generation to have mine. Growing up, my mom prominently placed it in front of the picture window in the kitchen. The buckets have different designs. My favorite features what they call the aristocratic pig; again, because the lard was a superior product. The bucket has my mom’s maiden name on it.
I’ll never part with it. It gives me warm feelings of family traditions and ties to Greenville’s history.”
Do you have a cherished item you’ll never part with? Send a note or photo to @viveupstatesc on Instagram.