03 April 2007
The Legacy of the Centerpiece.
Last week I changed our dining room centerpiece from a collection of candles on a cake platter to several faux lemons & a few faux limes on a platter. I love it & it looks striking on our black dining room table. Handsome Randy has joked to me all week about us having a "12 Lemon Centerpiece" (sans the movie, The Break-Up).
So last night we're sitting at the dining room table talking & he picks up a lemon, tosses in the air & catches it. Then he pauses for a moment puzzled, "These aren't real?!"
He examines the lemon more carefully, "I thought they were real."
We then discussed how I actually made a trip to the hobby/craft store for the sole purpose of purchasing faux fruit for a dining room centerpiece. "I know it seems silly to some, but having a good centerpiece just makes me feel like our house is in some sort of order. I need it. I'm a Langer, that's how we are."
I said this in a joking manner, but it's no joke; it's serious bussiness.
I come from a long line of women who had & continue to have centerpieces that shift through out the year. Some more than others, but they are a necessity to us and we take pride in them.
My grandmother always had centerpieces on her dining room, kitchen, & coffee tables. The dining room & coffee table pieces were typically silk flowers arranged by my aunt Pal & were changed a couple of times per year, with the exception of christmas - there's always seperate centerpieces for christmas across the board (except at our house..putting up a tree is enough for me). On the center of my grandparents' kitchen table was always the same green acrylic bowl filled with plastic grapes & real fruit. This was a mainstay until they both passed away. On a recent trip to my aunt Stephanie's home, I saw the bowl (still filled with the same grapes) on her kitchen table. Seeing that my grandparents' fruit bowl centerpiece did not go in some box & into an attic after their deaths was somehow of comfort to me. That centerpiece, though it is just a centerpiece, represents a piece of life as it was before. It's nostalgia & it feels good to see.
My two cousins, who are 1 and 5 years older than me, consistantly have centerpieces on their tables too. Dining, coffee, kitchen, etc. One prefers variations of silk flowers with rocks or marbles, the other bamboo shoots in water or other crisp, zen like pieces.
My aunt Pal, who is now the matriarch of our family, is the most elaborate & well practiced with her centerpieces. There are many through out her home & most change seasonally. 4 in all: Kitchen table, Kitchen counter, Dining room table, Fireplace mantle & hearth. She has seperate centerpiece collections for easter, spring, summer, autumn, thanksgiving, christmas & just for inbetween. When one of my cousins was married last summer, Pal was left with a huge amount of pink mums from the reception centerpieces. She put them together in a huge bunch & threw them in an upside cake platter top & voila: the kitchen table centerpiece for the Post-Wedding brunch was done. It was so simple, yet so increidibly beautiful.
Pal is inspiration for us all & typically has not only great ideas & advice for our centerpieces, but has components that we can borrow or have if need be. For example, last night I was telling her of my plans for the centerpiece for our porch table come summer. It calls for river rock. "Okay. Now honey, don't buy any rocks, I have a bunch downstairs - you can just take what you want." Perfect, thank you.
And so, traveling to a craft/hobby store only to spend $16 on faux fruit may seem silly or frivelous to some. But for me you see, it's imperative to have that faux fruit in the center of my table & it is for the rest of the Langer women too. xoxx.