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Monday, June 29, 2009

my mother's childhood lamp

this lamp was in my mother's bedroom when she was a child.
it sat across town in Honolulu during the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
my mother was 14 years old.
her father was a navy-man, and more specifically, a submarine-crew member stationed at pearl harbor.
he was off-duty, and at home asleep on that infamous Sunday morning. he immediately went back to the base before the second wave hit, and the family didn't hear from him for over a week. they didn't know if he was dead or alive.
he survived.
my mother saw the second wave come in from a hillside by her house.
all the while, this lamp sat across town.
now it sits in a kitchen in new hampshire.


  1. What a great story. I can only imagine the anxiety your mother and her family must have been experiencing! Thank God for his safe return. Certainly a day that no one will forget.

  2. Oh. There is nothing better than a nostalgic piece with a family story attached...nothing!

  3. I just LOVE to get the history of a piece...LOVE it. Wow, what a story. Pieces just take on a whole new meaning when you have its history. And love the lamp shade you put with it, is it custom? Also, LOVE! that little painting with the cows!!!

  4. What a story and great family history. I love that your lamp has a story!


  5. I so agree, the story changes how you see a piece. One reason I wanted to tell it's story here was so my nieces and nephew, who read the blog, will know it's family history and whomever in the family is the next caretaker one day will also know and remember it's story.

    Trina, the shade isn't custom, it came from our favorite lamp shop in Dallas (boy do we miss that place!) Isn't that the sweetest little antique oil?! I bought it along with a sheep oil painting (about the same size)on ebay! Love bovine paintings

  6. What stories that little lamp could tell! And how thoughtful of you to tell its own story in this way... so your younger family members can appreciate that the "history" of family heirlooms is what makes them truly valuable.
    I should tell you too that I liked this story so much, I read all the way down your first page. I'll definitely be back!

  7. Enthralling story, particularly in the creatively simple way it was told; good writing! I love the way you gave us a sense of it, noting your mom's age at the time for a sense of perspective. (Book recommendation: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, written in a similar style.) Sorry; I just get kinda excited by good writing. Nice lamp!

    I agree with you about using our blogs for family history, as a record of our families to read and know one another. Decor sites are fun and light, but I love a blog with stories to tell and strong writing to engage mind and heart.

  8. I love the family antiques, the antiques with a story. Thanks for sharing

  9. What an interesting story. Thanks!

  10. What a fabulous post! How symbolic that lamp must be to your family. What a terrifying week of waiting. I'm sure your mum might of kept that light on all week to bring her comfort. ps I love the little painting also! Julie

  11. what a gorgeous lamp and such special memories attached. I love your blog, your home pictures are beautiful. Your furbaby is so adorable, and i too am all for pound puppies. We have a sheltie that we didnt get from a pound but did rescue him when he was 1 1/2 years old from a home that no longer wanted to care for him.

  12. Hi Joan, LOVE THE LAMP - I just found by way here to your blog - you know the story - started at Velvet and Linen then moved to somewhere else and here I am - Your blog is GREAT - love reading about your adventures - I grew up in Hawaii so was instantly attracted to the lamp and then the story - I live in the country and I'm in love with my John Deere ride on - No one is allowed on my John Deere except me and it is so much fun!! Thanks for having such a fun blog!! Kakalina/Kathy who lives in New Zealand

  13. Joan,... tell Judy-Ruby === That I wasn't able to leave the LAMP ON --as we had Black-Outs every night for over 3 months; When My mother and sister and I were quickly evacated from Hawaii to San Francisco--Then by train to my Mother's home town in Pensacola, Florida....It took us 8 day by ship (Normally took 5 days) as we were in a convoy-- It was the first time I had dried eggs and dried milk---The ship was so full of crying babies and Sea-sick mothers-- A cabin that would normally hold 2 people-- we had 6 people--in them(as I said-- with crying babies)--- When we got to Flordia and they would sound a air raid siren --I would hidede under the school desk---
    We returned to Hawaii year later --as they needed Teachers despertly and my Mother had taught there for 16 years-- We went back on a Troop ship and I was almost 16.. so I was the Queen of the ship for 8 days ( in another Convoy)---(only 6 females on the ship)-- we had to bath in salt water and a special soap to make some suds--We got to eat 3 meals and the poor service men only got 2 meals a day--so I would take all the fruit off our table and take it up to the guys on up-deck also I would take the Watch-guard's canteen down and fill them with ice water-- They were very pleased I would do that for them!! All these Soliders and Sailors and Marines were heading "down under"---
    Then, Two& 1/2 years later, the War ended _That day I met Joan's Dad-- and we were married a year later- so that is MY story-- and it seems like Yesterday---- Joan's Mom


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