The Jardiniere

In the corner of my lounge room sits a jardiniere. She is a grand old beauty however her age is beginning to show.
Once she contained ferns and other indoor house plants and lived on the top of a silky oak planter stand by the window in my grandmother’s lounge room. Before that, she belonged to my great-grandmother and lived in her family home.
I have more than likely insulted her with the plastic ivy and wooden tulips that grace her insides now however she is aging and her strength is not what it used to be. Plastic ivy it will have to be.
See that crack on her side? It is only a small part of the further damage around the back that is now disguised by the wall. She has been repaired many times over the years as the glue deteriorates and crumbles no longer holding her together like it should.
Of course if it hadn’t been for David, she would never have required the use of glue in the first place. She had watched David grow over the years as he came to visit his grandmother but when he and Suzanne moved in to live there, she watched him every day.
He was a rascal. Always teasing his sister and getting up to mischief.
But she had seen his good side as well.
Like the times he and Suzanne sneaked out of bed and set the table ready for breakfast as a ‘surprise’ for Granny. She and Granny were both aware that those two could never do anything quietly but Granny acted surprised and pleased when she ‘woke up’ and got out of bed.
Then came the day that the two of them were clowning around in the lounge room. Their grandmother chastised them and told them to stop but her warning came too late. The old (she was already old by then) jardiniere had come crashing to the ground.
Granny was rarely furious but she was this time.
She yelled at the children (particularly David because he had started it all) and punished them for being careless. Bundling the pieces together, she took the jardiniere under the house and sat it down on her mother’s old commode (of all places) until she could repair it.
David was heart-broken that he had upset his Granny.
At that time he and I received 50 cents each week in pocket money. David began saving his pocket money until he had enough to walk to the corner store and purchase some Super Glue. He spent hours under the house one afternoon repairing the old jardiniere before carefully carrying her up the stairs and into the house to present to his beloved Granny.
Granny cried.
Many years later after David’s death, Granny told the story of the time she had punished her grandson for his youthful energy and how he had made up for his mistake and cherished the jardiniere even more because of this.
When the day came that Granny needed to move to supported accommodation, the old girl came to live with the other trouble maker from that day. She has been moved around many times over the years and has lived in a number of homes. She has been re-repaired a number of times as well as the glue deteriorates but she knows that she is a little bit of history.
She tells the story of my great grandmother, my grandmother, my childhood and my brother.

Today it has been 21 years since David rolled his semi down an embankment in the early morning light. I still have little reminders of him and our shared childhood here and there but each night as I sit on the couch, I see the jardiniere.
She is an aging beauty. To be honest I’m not sure exactly how old she really is but does it really matter when there is so many memories tied in with her?
She is broken.
She is beautiful.
She reminds me each and every day of those I have loved and lost.
And so today as I recall the good (and bad) times spent with my little brother I remember the little boy who really loved his family and would do anything for them. I remember the man who later had a family of his own that he adored. A family that grew up without him.
I have been blessed in my life to be surrounded by good men.
It’s just so sad that I have had to say goodbye to them so soon.


30 thoughts on “The Jardiniere

  1. sorry about your loss.ha what a helpful and oringal thing to say.but i mean it.big hugs.
    i love the memories attatched things.things that make us think arent they wonderful.little objects of seeming insignificance to some?but not to others.


      1. In my business, I am often saddened when I come across a piece like this; a damaged but oft repaired item that I just know has lived lifetimes in someone’s family. Because it has no “worth.” And yet, I can always tell it had a worth beyond measure, just like yours. I usually do not know it’s actual history, and my hunger is always to know “the story.” I just can’t help it. So you see, there is an extra reason I love your little jardiniere’s tale. I always suspect the like.
        As a seller, I cannot usually sell these treasures. I also cannot bear to discard them. I feel like they are Important Orphans, like Royalty in disguise as The Homeless, and they often take up residence with me. I wish they could talk. If someone else will provide them a home, I adopt them out, unless of course I have become emotionally invested in whatever I have made up as their story.
        I know…it’s funny.
        I am so heartwarmed that yours has a stable home with it’s own family. So often these treasures lose their way and become Orphans. I find some of them and can’t discard The Story, even though I don’t know what it is.

        Blessings to you as well.


        1. I love your story. So you deal in antiques? That is awesome. I would love to do that. I wish I could buy everything and take them home with me some days. But what really makes me sad (and I have often considered buying them) is family photos in antique stores. That to me is devastating that someone let those photos go.
          I currently have some army discharge papers belonging to an unknown person that I am attempting to find the family they belong to. Why do these things get let go?


          1. Yes, and yes, it can be sad.
            Family photos…I have handled boxes and boxes of photos. More photos. Mostly unwanted. Notes, cards, letters, and random things no one will ever know the reason for which they were kept.
            Sometimes things are abandoned.
            Often there is no one left to say, or to want them. I do have some sad stories like that. While clearly I am a seller, I take some peace and delight in the “rehoming” of some of those things when I do sell them. A few people have given me their things knowing they will be sold, simply because they hated the thought of their things ending up in a bin somewhere when they pass. These items get extra respect from me, and I infuse them with “the story” if I have one, so someone else will love them and treasure them. Sometimes someone does, usually a story lover like me…But it is hard sometimes.
            šŸ™‚ I can, however, often spot the Random Broken Jardiniere Lover coming at twenty paces….
            ::laughing:: I am way too into this. I do what I can. At the very least I try to keep some reverance and respect in the whole process. I’ll likely never get rich this way, but I can’t resist… I get a thrill from seeing someone fall in love with the lost and lonely item with the forgotten story.


            1. That is awesome. I have an old Singer sewing machine here that I bought from a garage sale for way less than it is worth. However it’s resale value isn’t that high anyway. I bought it because the person selling it told me that it had been given to her as a gift by an elderly neighbour when she was only just out of home. The neighbour had no children to pass it on to and so gifted it to her. Now it lives under my hall table. šŸ™‚


              1. Nice! Yep, you sound like me! (Careful…. šŸ™‚ ) Love the old Singers. I met a youngish guy the other day that had an antique Singer tattooed on his bicep. He said it was his Grandma. šŸ™‚ I had an almost identical one in the shop and he fell in love (but didn’t take it home…). And yeah, they can be hard to sell for much.
                What I didn’t say much about is that very often I have had to discard large amounts of what I knew to be personal items, keepsakes, photos, etc. I learned quickly that Other Peoples Treasures can rapidly take over a life and a home even with having an outlet, and one cannot save (or sell or even give away) everything. That’s called being a hoarder. I try to keep things that will be of interest to someone, so I can pass them on. But yes, discarding piles of even bad photos bothered me just knowing that they had meant something to someone, once. I keep the very old and the very pretty or unusual.
                Diaries are the worst. I have one (It begins 1938) I’ve kept and I’m quite attached to it.


                1. Oh, it would be heartbreaking to have to let those things go. Sad really.
                  I sometimes think I should be on one of those shows like “Who do you think you are” that traces family history. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could find the stories behind discarded photos? There are so many stories in the world just waiting to be told.


                  1. I know…it freaks me out….like the story may disappear if I throw them out…
                    there are a number of “found” photo sites online, including one that has pics from found cameras. (I’m always a little afraid I’ll find myself there…) You can find them with a “found photos” search.
                    One of my favorite ways to waste time though is this site full of found NOTES. Hilarious, sometimes poignant, occassionally scary.
                    It’s here, careful you might get hooked… šŸ™‚


                    1. Oh wow. Some of that stuff is priceless. I love that site.
                      And I know what you mean about feeling that a story might disappear if you throw them out. So sad.


  2. A touching story and tribute here Suz, loved it. *wipes at a tear* Memories indeed. I went to the dump one day and an old Italian lady must have died. The relatives dumped a huge steamer trunk of photos, mementos and certificates in the pit. I had a look ( it was when you could scrounge) and there were family albums going back to the mid 1800’s. A terrible waste of someone’s precious memories.


    1. That is so terribly sad. The steamer trunk itself is a memory. I would have taken it you know and then sorted through it all. I don’t know what I would have done but at least it would have had a home of some sort.


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