Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My cabinet

 Terry Grant here.

When Judy announced the "Cabinet of Curiosities" theme I knew I needed to share what I have always referred to as my own CoC. This old oak china cupboard, with its curved glass doors sits against a wall between my living room and dining room. It belonged to my great-grandmother and lived in the old boarding house in Colorado where my mother grew up. Mom said her job every Saturday morning, as a child, was to carefully open it up and dust inside. She said her grandmother said she was the only child careful enough to be entrusted with this job, and that someday Mom would inherit the china cupboard. Since my great grandmother lived well into her '90s that "someday" was a long time in coming, and most of the family had forgotten Great-grandma's promise to Mom, so I think there was some discussion about who should have the china cupboard, until a yellowed scrap of paper was found in a bowl in the cupboard, with a note written in Great-grandma's distinctive hand—"china cupboard goes to Betty Jo." The carefully packed cabinet made the journey safely from Colorado to Idaho. Years later when my mother died the cabinet came to me and traveled to Oregon. It has quite a few miles on it, but is still in excellent condition and miraculously the curved glass doors that are so vulnerable have survived it all. Several years ago it moved again, from our old house to our current house. It is so scary to move this thing! I wrote about it on my blog.

I sat down and drew it a couple of days ago. Like many things that one lives with and sees on a daily basis, the act of drawing this cabinet was revelatory. I discovered details I had never noticed before and suddenly remembered an old trick of making glass look like glass by erasing areas to give the effect of reflections. In the coming weeks I plan to draw some of the things that are inside. These are the "curiosities". Not pinned bug specimens or bones or dried vegetable matter, but things like an old bottle of Coca Cola, with the name of my hometown impressed in the glass on the bottom,  my children's teething rings and baby spoons, a little bowl containing several dried 4 leaf clovers (oh, that is dried vegetable matter!), souvenirs and my old skate key.  Curiosities, or probably more accurately, things I have no use for but cannot part with.


  1. Thank you for sharing this story! I know just how you felt! Thanks so much- and a lovely sketch to boot!

  2. this is amazing. This past weekend my husband, son and I just moved inherited furniture from Massachusetts to Vermont. One piece in particular is an antique and very old so it was secured with much attention. Your story certainly resonates with me right now. Love the story and the drawing. Your mom and grandmother's interactions live on. Such an interesting idea for this month's challenge.

  3. what a beautiful piece of furniture with a meaningful, rich history! i'm sure it is a fun task to create little displays within your CoC.

  4. Great and wonderful cabinet, filled with treasures, and I can't wait to see the content. I am delighted by your story of its rich history and family legacy. Your drawing is quite amazing!

  5. I had to laugh....My great aunt had a china cabinet which was left to my mother...it too had curved glass. That cabinet traveled from Montana to Michigan, Michigan to Alabama, Alabama to Washington state, then back to Montana. I had been promised it, but I suspect it will go to one of my nieces instead....that that's OK by me! Cabinets with wings.... or wheels...now that would be a curiousity!


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