While on honeymoon, we bought a large antique print by Leonard Campbell Taylor in a beautiful frame. It was around a hundred dollars but as newlyweds with a mortgage, it seemed like an extravagant purchase. I guess it was, a bit like our post-wedding holiday. In one we bought beauty, in the other we bought experience and in both we bought memories.
As with most weddings (even small ones) and family and life, so much was going on at that time, the picture somehow helps me to remember. As if it anchors down fragments of a dream I had. It was one of the first things we bought together for our house, the first thing that wasn’t a hand-me-down. I do love the hand-me-down stuff we were gifted to help establish our home, but this picture was our choice. It reminds me how it felt travelling together, saying my married name for the first time and the thrill of the journey.
Quite possibly, it also foreshadowed moments of our future – my love of marketeering, my husband’s tolerance for my love of marketeering and a house full of pictures.
It’s been pride-of-place above the mantelpiece ever since.
At market recently, I made another purchase. A painting by a local artist which featured a scene of autumn trees and leaves. I loved it. I loved it like the picture we bought during our honeymoon, even though they were so very different. When I got it home, I swapped the two pictures around. You must understand, it was the only wall space in our house large enough to take it and the other picture needed cleaning anyhow and when I cleaned it, would totally swap them back.
I didn’t though. In truth, I knew where I wanted to hang it, I knew it would be right and I knew it would usurp our honeymoon purchase but the denial began before I’d even carried the picture to the car. And now it’s on the wall and I feel guilty, like I’m retiring an old memory to employ a much younger, fresher one.
As someone with a huge respect for objects and their stories, I know I’m over-thinking this. My husband, for instance, isn’t fretting about the old picture’s welfare or its sudden demotion to the upstairs attic room.
It is life. It evolves, we change, things change – sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, sometimes it’s the same but different.
And that old picture may yet find a new wall space.