incense burnerIt is just an incense holder. Simple, in good taste. There is some engraving in the back, mostly erased, “industria argentina”. Perhaps it’s silver.
It used to reside in the top drawer of the sideboard in Gladys’ and Granny’s apartment. There was a box of long incense sticks, and some incense cones as well. Perhaps those were in the second drawer, with the fancy candles and tablecloths – my memory for some things is not that good. I played with them, as I played with everything, but very occasionally. Perhaps they were too delicate, perhaps not so much fun. We might have lit them once or twice, early on I think, but my memories of incense come from later, Berkeley, the Middle East (though less). I know that the cone ones were too beautiful to burn.
I have the incense burner now. I also have the silver plated silverware that was used for special occasions. Did it date from Granny’s wedding? My dad may know. The silverware needs to be polished, it has lost some of its luster, its plating. I used it years ago (Gladys had given me half of the service for 12) at dinner parties, but now it seems too heavy, too important. Las cosas están para usarlas, of course, but, but, but… sometimes you can’t.
That silverware also resided in the top drawer of the sideboard. Above there was the mirror, which made the very small dining room seem much larger. All special occasions for the Lacabe family were celebrated in that dining room – which could only seat 6 – or was it 8? There was a card table in the living room, perhaps we used it too.
ultimo cumpleanos de Granny
They weren’t dinners, of course, other than asados I don’t think I went to a dinner party until I started having them myself. Instead, we celebrated with masas finas and sánguches de miga. The masas are bite-size pastries, sweet and delicious, also extremely expensive. The sandwiches are made with extremely thin crustless bread, they are often triples, with a slice of bread in the middle. Ham and cheese are the most common ones, I liked cheese alone.
When Gladys died, a couple of years ago, we emptied out her house. It breaks my heart to think of it, but at the time it gave me something to do amidst fits of crying, the same tears that I cannot stop now as I think of her. Thinking of Gladys’ house bare is painful, even if a few of her belongings are now in my house. Because for me those belongings help the memories, and the memories are so pleasant and so painful. Because they are no more.
As I mentioned, I brought home some other things. One was this doll – I don’t know its history at all. It used to stand on the shelf in the hallway, where the phone was located. Underneath was a cloth bench, I have some vague notion that it was a piano bench, though it doesn’t look like the ones I’ve seen. It was white and golden, I think. It opened up and inside there were old magazines. The book about Estudiantes winning the Copa Libertadores – which, by the way, they won once again.
Above was a carved mirror. It came with the bedroom set my grandparents bought for Gladys when she was in her twenties. It was a quality set. I slept on her bed throughout the 70’s, her closet was in the service room. Somewhere in time the closet lost its bottom. We gave it to the portera. My father was sad. I don’t remember what we did with the mirror.
shellgThis little metal shell was probably on the table which resided next to Granny’s couch. It became Gladys’ couch after Granny died, though I think I took it over when I went to live with her at thirteen. At least I remember sitting there a lot. During the time Granny was alive, Gladys sat on a rocking chair with a harsh down pillow. I sat on another rocking chair, padded on the bottom and the back. I think it had flowers. There was a card table between the three chairs, where we ate and, of course, played cards. The shell is now on my desk. It opens up, there is a plastic shell inside. I have not the slightest idea what it is. But it was Granny’s and Gladys’ and that is enough.

clockThe clock, the table clock of course, not the grandfather’s clock beloved by all, was on the sideboard I mentioned above. I brought it to America in my hand luggage. It’s broken now, I’d love to have it fixed sometime. Though I wonder if the familiar sound would be too painful. Then again, you get used to everything.

Picture of Ramon and candle holders
The two candle holders above were also on the sideboard. I played a lot with them. They are now on my bookcase. The picture is that of my grandfather Ramón, who died years before I was born. I don’t remember where it was before.
flowers.jpgI took this wooden painting from the wall above the door between the kitchen and the living room. I don’t think it was there during my childhood. It’s now on my kitchen wall.
needlepoinThese three needlepoint flowers were, indeed, next to the living room-kitchen door. They were my present to Granny. I saw them in a little store between my apartment and my English school and I knew we had to give them to Granny. We bought them one by one, over a year or two. I think they liked them. They are now in my bedroom. I didn’t think they would fit – they are on the wall near my picture of Guernica, but I like seeing them from my bed. They warm me.
mother.jpgThese three clay plaques were in Granny’s bedroom. The top one is the picture of her mother. Then there is a poem about a sister (from my uncle Kent?) and then one about a Mother. They are now in my bedroom as well.
I have other things I took from their house, mostly plates and tea cups, all in a suitcase. I have no space for them. Nothing has much value, it’s all old and scratched, and I’m not sure what to do with it. But it was theirs and it’s mine. Was there ever a difference?
What I wonder now, at this moment it came to my mind, is what happened to the acrostic I gave Granny, perhaps for her last birthday. Was it still there, in that white document box? I remember writing it on paper that looked like parchment paper.
So this is it for now. Objects and memories. I wonder if my children will ever feel like this, will look at the hangings that we’ve had for almost twenty years and think of us. Or will they destroy everything we have before they reach adulthood.