Detecting a pattern / Detectando un patrón

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

ALTHOUGH I HAD COFFEE AND conversation with good friend Tynan today, and that was uplifting, I refuse to think about other current events. So, let me take you back in time. First to 1979 with my parents in their kitchen and then over the last 10 years in their living room (with flashbacks to the 1950s — click here for that complete post). I had never given it much thought, but clearly My Mother The Dowager Duchess always loved color and patterns. And she wasn’t afraid to use them!


AUNQUE HE TENIDO UN CAFÉ y conversé con buen amigo Tynan hoy, y eso fue alentador, me niego a pensar en otros eventos actuales. Entonces, déjame llevarte atrás en el tiempo. Primero en 1979 con mis padres en su cocina y luego durante los últimos 10 años en su sala de estar (con flashbacks de la década de 1950; haz clic aquí para ver esa entrada completa). Nunca lo había pensado mucho, pero claramente a Mi Madre La Duquesa Viuda siempre le encantaron los colores y los patrones. ¡Y no tenía miedo de usarlos!

• 1979. The kitchen. Sister Dale was in for a visit from England and my parents hosted a party, for about 50 people, for their granddaughter’s 6th birthday (and eldest cousin Evie’s birthday, too — although not her 6th).
• 1979. La cocina. La hermana Dale estaba de visita desde Inglaterra y mis padres organizaron una fiesta, para unas 50 personas, por el sexto cumpleaños de su nieta (y el cumpleaños de la prima mayor Evie también, aunque no su sexto).
• Since 1970, there had been elegant gold lace drapes (with a botanical pattern) that hung in a curve. After more than 20 years, my mother tried to wash them in the bathtub. They came apart in her hands.
• Desde 1970, había elegantes cortinas de encaje dorado (con un patrón botánico) del piso al techo que colgaban en una curva. Después de más de 20 años, mi madre trató de lavarlas en la bañera. Se separaron en sus manos.
With The Duchess in 2014.
Con La Duquesa en 2014.
My mother’s “knitting chair” in 1950.
La “silla de tejer” de mi madre en 1950.
• Reupholstered in 1970 and stayed that way for the next 46 years.
• Retapizado en 1970 y permaneció así durante los siguientes 46 años.
• The chair was one of two that came from my grandfather’s synagogue when it closed in the 1960s. My father refinished the wood and my mother replaced the original (100-year-old) burgundy mohair with red silk. We considered shipping the two chairs to Spain (and reupholstering them), but I think it’s fairly obvious, they weren’t comfortable and they took up a lot of space.
• La silla fue una de las dos que vino de la sinagoga de mi abuelo cuando cerró en la década de 1960. Mi padre le dio un nuevo acabado a la madera y mi madre reemplazó el mohair burdeos original (de 100 años de antigüedad) con seda roja. Consideramos enviar las dos sillas a España (y retapizarlas), pero creo que es bastante obvio, no eran cómodas y ocupaban mucho espacio.
• You can see an ashtray on the table in 1954/55.
• Puede ver un cenicero sobre la mesa en 1954/55.
• Around 2014. Same table (refinished in 1960). Same ashtray. We had it shipped to Spain after my mother died in 2016. It survived three kids and 66 years with minor cracks only to be broken (beyond repair) in packing.
Alrededor de 2014. Misma mesa (reformada en 1960). Mismo cenicero. Lo enviamos a España después de que mi madre muriera en 2016. Sobrevivió a tres niños y 66 años con pequeñas grietas solo para romperse (irreparablemente) en el embalaje.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

22 thoughts on “Detecting a pattern / Detectando un patrón”

    1. wickedhamster:
      Added to the formality of the chairs, the silk upholstery was slippery. Vertically challenged people tended to slide off.

  1. Your mother obviously liked red, a nice strong color. The knitting chair lasted a lifetime, in various covers and locations.

    1. David:
      Yep, my mother loved red. For years, the kitchen and dining area were red, black, gray, and white. Three walls were covered only with black & white artwork (and live plants everywhere).

  2. Love that photo of you and your Mom.
    Prints and patterns ruled the day back then.
    Check out that red phone on the wall in the kitchen! My family’s wall phone in the kitchen was an exciting beige!!

    1. Jim:
      SG calls beige a Midwest color. Until looking at these photos again, I didn’t appreciate how wild my mother’s combinations were. There was no beige in that house, not even among the phones. Four phones. All different colors.

    1. Deedles:
      I didn’t appreciate how multi-patterned and colourful my mother did things. You’d think Fuengirola fashion wouldn’t surprise me. Still, there’s no plaid in that living room. (She left the plaid behind on the kitchen wall in the first Brooklyn apartment.)

    1. Anne Marie:
      I kind of like… wouldn’t do it myself… but I kind of like it. I love any picture of me with Dale!

  3. It’s wonderful that you have all those photos. Your parents apartment looked very comfortable. The synagogue chair probably was uncomfortable only meant to be sat in for a few minutes. I remember such chairs at the Chateau Frontenac Hotel in Quebec City before renovations in the late 1960’s they were used for decoration not for sitting.

    1. larrymuffin:
      My mother got the two matching chairs, which at least had upholstered backs. Two of my aunts got individual chairs with ornately carved backs. I like them more, but they were even worse for sitting. My mother made sitting in that chair even more challenging by covering it in slippery silk. She herself would slide off when she sat in it.

  4. Your mother was a skillful decorator! Those rooms are quite elegant and colorful. The red wall-mounted telephone is especially groovy. Shame about the loss of the fantastic ashtray. I agree that the synagogue chair doesn’t look all that comfortable — you were wise to leave it behind.

    1. Steve:
      I loved that phone. It matched the cabinet doors perfectly (or I should say, she had my father paint the cabinet doors to match). Discovering the splintered ash tray in the box was a bit heartbreaking. The packers did a terrible job. As for the chairs, we were sure we would keep them but thought better of it. We shipped some pieces of furniture and lots of other things and as I look at these pictures there’s still more I wish we had kept, but our apartment is probably about 1/2 the size of that one… and who needs all that STUFF anyway! Most of the knick knacks went to charity… so really no regrets when I think a bit more.

  5. Love the red in the kitchen cabinets and phone ! So fabulous !
    All the colors and prints I miss the 50’s fun and her 70’s.

  6. The knitting chair is my favorite. Or maybe my fav is the glass-sided case behind the synagogue char. Or maybe the walls of art. So many wonderful choices. I suppose the horse just didn’t want to leave New York.

    1. Wilma:
      We considered shipping the “knitting chair” (wing chair) here. But, after paying for shipping, we would have had to recover it. A shame. Really good quality. Then again, I don’t knit. The glass-sided case is a tea table and we shipped it here! We kept some of her art and gave special things to family and friends. THEN I brought the rest to a local charity in her co-op. Probably about 80 percent of what was on my mother’s walls was her own work.

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