Of Old Things and Attics



Your attic may be last on your list for spring cleaning. Nobody goes up there anyway, especially with those stupid, heavy pull-down stairs. But June is the perfect month to pay it a visit—not too hot or cold.

Just forget about the sponge and Ajax. Take a sandwich instead. You’ll be there awhile surrounded by memories and soon realize why you never threw any of this stuff away.

Here’s a sampling of what I recently found in ours.

My grandmother’s silver lamÉ banquet cloth with a twelve-inch square hole cut smack in the middle of it. Our five-year-old daughter had come down the attic stairs with a bewitching smile and her hands behind her back.

“Look, Mommy,” she proudly announced. “I made you the most beautifulest handkerchief!”

A box of seashells I collected in Jamaica intending to decorate a mirror someday. (I even had the special glue.) But when our friends bought a lovely home on John’s Island in Vero Beach and I was puzzling over what house present to take them, they said: “No gifts, please,” adding unwittingly, “What we don’t need is a shell mirror!”

A white satin book from our 1959 wedding in Cleveland listing 302 gifts, including a nondescript ashtray from someone who had more money than God and eight monogramed silver napkin rings from a guest as poor as a church mouse.

A dozen time-yellowed Western Union telegrams from people who couldn’t be there—like Sandy and Marie Sulger who lived someplace called Greenwich. Another from one of Jack’s roommates in the Bone Pile (a bachelor pad in Cleveland Heights), who was an old beau of mine, asking: “When are you going to send me the finder’s fee?”

A lamp made out of a binnacle from a WWII Japanese lifeboat. OK, I’m married to a sailor, but it just didn’t do well in our living room.

A Din-Don hostess apron—white dotted Swiss with lavender and blue ribbons—from the days when we wore long hostess skirts for entertaining. Dinny Robins and I had gone into business, hiring sewers and peddling aprons to such stores as Outdoor Traders and Mark, Fore & Strike. Cottage industry, for sure; but I made $10,000—enough money to treat Jack and me to a cruise around the Greek Islands.

My Astronomy 101 notebook from Wellesley. I loved Professor Sarah Hill, who stretched our minds and imaginations. We found God way beyond the galaxies and excitement beyond our wildest dreams when she was invited to Scotland to investigate alien landings.

The crib with all those little teeth marks on the railing. It’s illegal now, so nobody wants it. Something about the spacing of the slats. Are all babies born pinheads these days?

A green galabeya from Cairo. Upon our return Jack and I had surprised the office staff by showing up dressed Egyptian-style, complete with Pharaoh headdress and Cleo wig. The new hire in the art department thought we were nuts.

A very large, framed Montague Dawson print. “One more duck or boat in this house, and I’m out of here!” I keep reminding Jack.

My mother’s stone martin stole, the pelts sewed nose to tail with their legs hanging down. Bored in church, a childhood friend of mine seated behind two matrons had quietly tied the feet of their stoles together, thus creating quite a scene when the ladies stood up to sing.

My big brother Lee’s original erector set from the thirties—an early indicator that we would have yet another engineer in the family.

Postcards to my parents from my 1954 European tour. After visiting the Vatican, I wrote: “Boy, am I full of history and religion!” Another highlighted a snowball fight in the Alps in July with my brother Mike.  

A box with two large, long-necked llama heads protruding out of it—part of a Pushmi-Pullyu costume that Barbara Gallagher and I made for the Grace Notes “Dr. Dolittle” show. I loaned the whole rig to my Polish manicurist and her friend who wore it to a Halloween costume contest at the Hyatt and won a trip to Florida; but not speaking a word of English, Ava hadn’t a clue about what was happening when they were called on stage to accept the award.

A Grenadier guard uniform I found in an antiques shop in London and brought home on my lap in the plane for Prince Charming to wear in another Grace Notes show.

Emily Post’s book entitled simply Etiquette, from 1948 with my mother’s handwritten notes on proper wedding attire for men: “Five o’clock wedding with reception one hour later calls for dinner coat, dark topcoat and black dress hat, but any other afternoon wedding properly calls for striped pants, frock coat and ascot tie. Definitely proper for afternoon but not to be worn after six p.m.” So there you have it!  

A lacquered blowfish the size of a grapefruit, its spines so needle-sharp you have to wear gloves to pick it up. Wouldn’t it just be the perfect booby prize for our family fishing contest in Vermont this summer? Maybe its attic days are over.

But enough of this. It’s your turn. Go up there and have fun. See what you can find. Just don’t forget the sandwich.

—Donna Moffly

 

Greenwich Agenda

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     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

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    2014.05.03
     @ Bruce Museum

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    2014.07.18
     @ Seaside Center

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  • Vals Free Weekly In-Store Wine Tasting | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.09
     @ Val's Putnam Wine And Liquors

    Each Friday we feature new wines just released and new to market for you to have an opportunity to taste and learn about through our sponsored...

  • Wine Time Social Hour | Greenwich, CT

    2014.01.27
     @ Barcelona Greenwich

    $4.00 select wines, $4.00 well drinks, and $3.00 beers.

  • Happy Hour | Greenwich, CT

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     @ Morello Italian Bistro

    Refresh yourself with our famous Red & White Sangria! Don’t forget that during happy hour every day 4:30pm-6:30pm your 2nd drink...

  • Saturday Vals Free Weekly In-Store Wine Tasting | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.10
     @ Val's Putnam Wine And Liquors

    We will feature an array of new and different International wines that are selected by our staff as “Staff Picks Favorites” in...

  • Polo Benefit for Hope

    2014.08.31
     @ Greenwich Polo Club

    For the second year in a row, Virginia's House of Hope is having a fundraiser at the Greenwich Polo Club! Join us on Sunday, August...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • Animal Meet and Greet

    2014.06.22
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 22 - August 31, 3:30 - 4:00pm Stop by for a chance to meet one of our Overbrook Nature Center or Heckscher Farm animals up...

  • Bar: Live Music | Greenwich, CT

    2014.03.09
     @ Barcelona Greenwich

    Join us in Greenwich every Sunday for live music and half-priced bottles of wine!

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

    The boat "Prudence" departs from the Delamar Hotel Dock on 500 Steamboat Rd. All the wine is sponsored through VALS with food...

  • Exclusive Tour of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery

    2014.09.09
     @ Yale University Art Gallery

    Join JCC Greenwich for an exclusive tour with museum curator Elizabeth Manekin. The collection is noteworthy for exemplary works from the...

  • Understanding the Gaza War: Strategic & Political Implications

    2014.09.09
     @ Greenwich Library, Cole Auditorium

    Dr. Efraim Inbar is a Professor in Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University and Director of its renowned Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic...

  • Bruce Museum: Look and See - Into the Deep

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  • College Admissions Boot Camp | Greenwich, CT

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    College Prep 360 will be offering two college admissions “boot camps” in their Greenwich office over the summer. The first workshop...


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