Like everything in my grandmother’s trunk that we weren’t allowed to open while she was living. The crocheted doilies and embroidered tea towels and the 3-foot long black and white picture of an entire town in southwest Oklahoma. I have boxes of things from my parents’ lives like the old valentine’s candy box my Mom got in high school and the photos of a blue eyed, curly headed sailor that became my Dad. I have the baby cards our parents received when my brother and I were born; even the sash that was laid on my grandfather’s casket. (No one does that anymore.)
These are the pieces of lives well lived. They offer a small glimpse into what mattered to the people who matter to me.
The same is true with this old grain Mill. Everything we pulled out of the building, I kept. Much to my husband’s dismay, I had the entire demolition pile stacked on our farm: pallets of old brick from the warehouse, the splintered remains of the bead board ceilings, all the metal pieces and parts that made the mill functional, and every little thing that looked interesting.
I have the old door knobs from the original front doors. The metal bracket attached to the front entry that held the American flag. The old screwdriver and brass bolt that were bent to form door latches. The ladder made from leftover wood pieces.
The “found” items in the Mill represent farmer ingenuity, depression-era frugality and a truly unique form of resilience. I wanted to capture this feeling and keep it in the building and you can see some of these items hung in the guest restroom just outside the Wine Cellar.
They may have been tossed as one man’s trash, but for me, they represent an American treasure.