The Blue Vase

Almost every morning when I go to the studio to work, I discover a fresh rose in the bud vase on my dressing table… one living and vital thing in a dusty arena of powder and tissue and matches and greasepaint. ~Julie Andrews

This worn, seemingly nondescript, vase holds a story. One that brings back fond memories. It was made by an elderly woman I never met. It was a prized possession of my grandmother’s. My dad’s mom…she was known as Mom-Mom to us.

She bought it at a bazaar, at her senior apartment building, for little more than a dollar about 50 years ago. But it is priceless to me. She had it in a place of honor as she admired the yellow flowers painted on it by her neighbor.

It is what I loved about it too along with the deep cobalt blue color. I am not sure if I asked for the vase when Mom-Mom passed or she gave it to me before that. But when she passed, at the age of 83, I was given her picture too. Isn’t she a fashion plate. A real flapper. This picture was taken in 1919 just around the time she got married at the age of 19. She proudly displayed it on the bureau just inside her apartment door. I saw it every time I visited when I was a teenager.

We had never been very close when I was growing up. She was hard to know. But I was glad to see her a couple times a month on my way home from class at the local community college. I would take her to get groceries and then stay for lunch. Usually a simple bologna sandwich on white bread. A prized sandwich when I was a child especially with spicy mustard. No butter thank you. Seems my Irish grandmother and father loved butter on their sandwiches. Mom-Mom is the one in the middle. Picture taken prior to WWI.

We would talk for hours. She would regale me with stories of her dreams, her unhappy marriage (which was a great surprise to me) and her tumultuous childhood where she lost her mom at a very young age. Her father, an alcoholic and gambler, could not care for his many children. So older siblings, neighbors or foster families took up the parenting. I am happy I finally got to know my grandmother a bit; elder woman to young woman coming of age. Here she is pictured with my grandfather around 1960.

I still have her photo in the frame she proudly displayed it in. Beautiful, flowered, porcelain and quite old. It sits on my bedroom bureau these days. This is my grandmother with one of her sisters. My Aunt Esther with whom she was close. Mom-mom is on the right; picture taken in the 1950s.

I kept my grandmother’s vase in a special place for a long time never wanting to use it. But once I retired, I decided it should be used. Unfortunately the yellow flowers continue to chip off the vase, but its worn state makes me think of her, and of me now in my elder years.

I am glad I kept and used this beautifully worn vase. It looks especially grand with the yellow flowers pictured above and at the top of the post. These are pictures of vases from 5 years ago.

I recently placed some of the last flowers in my garden in the vase. As our warmer weather continued. through the weekend, coral honeysuckle, calendula, dahlia and nasturtium were in fine flower.

With these older vases, and the new one above, I am joining in with the wonderful meme, In A Vase On Monday, from Cathy at  Rambling in the Garden. Celebrating this very special blue vase!

All the pictures shared in this post were taken with my Nikon Coolpix or iPhone camera, and manipulated on my iPhone using the apps, Pixlr and Prisma. You can follow my progress with #the100dayproject in my Instagram and Facebook feed.

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