Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Coolest Picture Ever

I may actually manage to scan the image at some point and share it online, but here is a painfully laborious description of the photo my parents' brought back from my"great godmother," M.'s condo in Florida:

The photo itself is about 6x8 inches, sepia tone of course. It depicts an old woman--most likely M.'s Danish grandmother, but possibly her Norwegian one--seated in the far corner of a room. She is the classic stereotypical grandmother of much of the last century, with kerchief, long apron, spectacles, and some knitting held in her lap. The room is a treasure trove of information about interiors in late-19th century rural scandinavia. As my mother said, it explains so much about how my great-grandmother's room--her "mother-in-law suite" in my grandparents' house--was laid out and decorated.

On the left-hand side of the room is a wooden settle, and in front of it a table--not coffee table height, but the height of a "sofa table" one now finds most often behind a sofa. You can tell by the depressions made by the legs of this table that the room has a dirt floor. on the table is a silver bowl filled with a bouquet of fresh wildflowers and greens. Against the wall in the back corner is another table, and on it are ranged family photographs with a row of daisy heads placed in front of them. On the wall above the table hang more photographs, including two more tantalizing room-portraits. Above that are two framed, same size pictures of Mary and Jesus crowned with thorns. To the right, a huge wooden armoire. To the right of that, the grandmother seated in a straight-back chair against the wall--behind her is what seems to be a window, but heavily curtained, valanced and fringed. On the right hand wall is another piece of furniture, somewhat like a Welsh dresser but somewhat narrower and with doors at top and bottom. The bowed top of this piece is covered with a scarf, and five teacups parade up one side and down the other. The counter-level shelf is also strewn with fresh flowers. At the very right of the picture is a sliver of what looks like a samovar.

I'm telling this all from memory, and leaving out a lot, because I haven't yet gotten up the nerve to ask my mother if I should take charge of getting this picture scanned and/or copied. For those of you who are still awake, thank you for humoring me. I love this stuff.

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