Saturday, November 29, 2014

Childhood Demons

I  remember my Saturdays as a kid. They were always the same: we cleaned the house.
We vacuumed, and dusted, and brushed the carpets, and we put things in order all over the house – my sister and I.

My sister hates dusting. God gave me a husband who does, too. So, dusting has always been my job. I don’t mind it. I like it better than vacuuming, and brushing the carpet, for sure.

But one thing I hated back then was dusting around the doilies that both my mom and my grandmother had all over the house. They had doilies all over the furniture, with little, beautiful, sculptured China dolls on top of them. The doilies creeped me out! Dust will always cling to them, to make them sticky. And they never dusted well. And they would never lay flat! They would always curl up, to have little spots under them where dust could gather and make them extra sticky for next time.

And they felt like spider webs. I never wanted to touch them! They were like living creatures, holding history, and age, and … dust … and old timey creepiness inside their fibers.

My mom is a starch freak! She starches her bed sheets! And her doilies and macramés are so starched they sit flat on the furniture. If I had to pick doilies I can live with, they are my mom’s, because they are so starched, so stiff, they don’t bubble up – they just lay flat. No tricky dust pockets to potentially hold secret creepy stuff anywhere in there.

I just unburied one of her doilies from my huge pile of heirlooms that she constantly supplies, in my closet, and it reminded me of my childhood – of all those Saturdays when I dusted her furniture, and made sure the wood is clean, and her little China doll ladies are pretty and shiny. And … the doilies are clean, too … At least her doilies laid flat – as you can see in the picture. 

My mom's flat doily - she crocheted it, and I can still remember when she did it. But it will never see the sight of my furniture!

I came face to face with my fear of macramé last month, during a trip to Charleston, SC. The client I was visiting at the time suggested that I would stay at this old inn downtown, where they had a corporate rate. The inn was everything people come to Charleston for: old charm, antiques, history, everything … 

My Nemesis bed in Charleston, SC - see the huge doily as the canopy. Cree-py ...!

I checked in, at 10.30 at night, and walked into my room. And misfortune of all misfortunes the whole bed was like an altar dedicated to doilies: there was a doily canopy draped right over the four posts of the bed! My skin started to crawl and I started to cringe! I could only speed dial my husband to say “this place is haunted!!”.

I did not sleep a wink all night, and I left the lights on in the room, all night long. I was too afraid to sleep, in case the huge doilied canopy would collapse on my face and smother me, trap me, for crying out loud!

The smell and texture of ages, smothering me. The stickiness of dust and the webs … Eeww …

And I wonder sometimes why I have so little friends …

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