Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Skies That Bind

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Skies That Bind

Article excerpt

We have doilies under everything! We even have doilies where we don't have anything! Our house is so dorky!" my daughter Mary, now 14, complained as she helped me with the dusting one Saturday morning.

I had to laugh when I heard this. It certainly was true. I do like doilies. They had been a staple of the well-decorated house of my generation, and flat surfaces seemed to cry out for them. I have pointy-edged tatted ones, round crocheted ones, scalloped embroidered ones, and cutwork lace ones.

I have some with patterns of pineapples radiating from a linen circle, and one with butterflies encircling a star, all of them more dear for being made by Mom Panerio and Aunt Helen on winter evenings. But doilies are an anachronism in today's less-is-more decorating style. I had thought they added a touch of grace, but that view was obviously not shared by my daughter, and was a reminder of a fact uncomfortable to her - that we were raised in different times. Born when I had already raised a family, Mary seems to belong to a world completely unfamiliar to me. I notice our differences. She hardly ever wears a dress, and she has never liked quiet things - checkers, paper dolls, making cookies, reading stories - any of the things that I enjoyed as a girl. She generally prefers the blurred view from the fast lane. She notices our differences. My clothes aren't the latest style, my hair - even when I work with it - has that rumpled, lived-in look. I don't bother with makeup. Is there any hope that we'll be able to connect - to weave the threads of our lives together? The things that link generations are certainly not dependent upon constantly changing material fads. Styles come and go, manners and conventions vary, but there are things that remain constant and binding in life. "Come out and look at the sky, Mom. It's beautiful! …

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