Not In The Magazines -- Or Pinterest


I used to get Pottery Barn magazines in the mail. They started arriving when we moved into our first home. We had been married for three years already. Home had been a huge gray suitcase, two backpacks, and our Volkswagon van.

Suddenly, we had walls. Walls, apparently, need to be a certain color and have appropriate hooks and frames and vases placed perfectly with books and plants and rugs and chairs.

Well, we were just out of grad school and didn’t have a dime -- why did they give us a loan to buy a house?

It just so happens that my sister moved the same weekend we did and she had some furniture that wasn’t moving with them. We all know what that means.

It wasn’t Pottery Barn, but it didn’t have a price tag and it was piled in the back of my dad’s truck and attached trailer and in my driveway; so, it was meant to be.

Unloaded, and placed, it sort of filled the house. We didn’t even have a floor in the kitchen at that point, so a couch and a bed and a dresser and a kitchen table, no matter their condition, were happy in our house.

George laid beautiful pinewood floors in the kitchen and we collected this and that and this from family members happy to part with their leftovers.

But then the magazines started coming. It was fun to look to at them. It was dreamy. The cost was extravagant. Out of the question. But I still questioned it. My furniture didn’t match. It didn’t look like anything close to what I saw in those magazines, but I thought it was fine to dream big dreams. Right?

I think it actually made me just hate what I looked at every day. I had great disdain for the couch and the walls and the home we created.  I wouldn’t say it out right, but I guess I was making enough comments to create a noise. A bit of a nagging noise I suppose.

George mentioned that he thought I should try to avoid the Pottery Barn magazine. Maybe it was the folder with cut out pictures with the “ideas” tucked into the pockets that sent him over the edge. I was annoyed by the request.

Why can’t I dream or have ideas or learn from someone that has more sense than I do about how a house should look?  I certainly knew what the inside of a massive gray suitcase should look like. I was an expert on that. Why should I not get expert advice on how walls should look?

It wasn’t the look, it was our lives. I do not live a Pottery Barn life. I never have. So it made very little sense for me to think that by creating that I would create a sense of peace and happiness. George was right.

Mismatched. colorful. Artwork hung here and there and musical instruments here and there and the old table that was my sisters and then mine and it is too small and covered in paint and scratches and old. And the chairs are old school school chairs that my dad found in a shed. And bouquets of bird feathers and dried lavender and lamps not really in the right place and a record player on an old dresser. I'm not in a hurry to change it -- any of it. The pew on the front porch. The old hutch. A gathering. 

And that is what we are. A place for gathering. Music now while children sleep and pumpkin bread bakes. There will be musicians always and friends and food and children running in and out -- always. 

I don't get Pottery Barn magazines in the mail anymore. 



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