Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Repost from Christmas Past . . . The Pan

With no time on my hands, and a feeling of guilt over my lack of posts, I am recycling some of my Christmas posts from past seasons.  Since many readers do not read past posts, I am hoping you will enjoy these.  Today I will share one infamous post from December 2010 about a Christmas tradition I share with my brother and a kitchen pan that once belonged to our mother.  Lisa Louise Cooke read it on her Episode 61 podcast for premium members.  

And now. . .  
"Holiday Fun for Genealogists". 
Posted here originally on 28 Nov 2010

Well, I have always known that I would write this blog post.  It has taken all of my willpower to save it for the holiday season where it rightly belongs.

Please note that the photo below is from left to right:  Gloria Kennelly (my mother), Mary McDonnell Kennelly (her grandmother), Berenice Moldt Kennelly (my grandmother).  I am including it because it is a wonderful photo, and I don't have any good Christmas photos of my mother later in her life.  Those that I could find, I can't bring myself to post for she would surely haunt me if I did.

During the holidays it is not unusual for families to laugh, reminisce, and share stories about past family times.  It usually starts "Remember when . . ." and ends with a smile and a warm family feeling in your heart.  Occasionally, accompanied by a smile or chuckle.  At our house, we usually began the litany of memories with "Remember that d*&#  pan of mother's?"  Except for sweets, our mother did not particularly enjoy cooking. While she loved new sheets and towels and had a whole room for her sewing equipment and crap craft supplies,  her pots and pans were gathered together from who knows where and never replaced.  We had knives that were dull, mismatched plates, rubber spatulas with handles that fell out, and cake pans that must have been passed down from gr-grandma.  Then there was THE PAN.  It was cast aluminum with an exterior darkened from centuries years of burnt oil, but the standout feature was the handle.  It had a wood handle with a long screw through the center.  The screw was fastened securely to the pan, but the wood handle had long ago worn larger in the middle.  This meant that the pan would swing and spin as you held the handle.  We begged our mother to throw it out every time we had to use it, and the contents would spill as the pan would sway and swing when we lifted it.  Mother was particularly fond of boiling macaroni  in this pan.  Pouring off the water was an exercise in frustration accompanied by loud swearing.  I told her that if she didn't throw it out, I would put it in the casket with her. . . . . and I tried to.  Little did I know that my brother retrieved it, sandblasted the oil off and wrapped it in Christmas paper for the following holiday.  Years have passed, and I don't remember what was in the pan that first Christmas. Since then it has been a planter, a clock, etc. Each year we pass it back and forth and talk about that D*&# pan and about our mother.

Last year it was my turn.  I never had any really inventive ideas.  Dahl, my brother, was the more creative one.  But last year was different.  He will have a hard time topping this. As I have said in an earlier post, my brother is the original genealogist in the family, but since I have joined him in this wonderful adventure, I have dragged him with me to various cemeteries in Chicago and Iowa.  I teased him about needing a "gravedigger" tee shirt since our adventure at Calvary cemetery pictured at right.  Privately, I had a brainstorm for THE PAN.  I filled it with dirt, covered the top with moss from Hobby Lobby, and painted small wood shapes to resemble tombstones.  A package of dollhouse scale flowerpots completed the look.  I decided to make him a "portable cemetery"!   It would be a representation of our past adventures searching for our ancestors.

And now to share it with you.

Click to enlarge and see detail

I included a tombstone for our g-g grandfather James Bush Allen because I was sure we would find it when we went to the cemetery - we didn't.  So I guess this is the only one he will ever have.  There is also a tombstone for g-g-g grandmother Anna Lyman, mother of James B. Allen who is buried in Canada, g-g-grandparents, Owen &; Bridget McDonnell, and our gr. grandparents Edward P. and Mary Kennelly.  Lastly, I put a headstone for Margel Kennelly and partially covered it with moss since we had dug up the original.  It was beautiful!!

My brother loved it ,and it has decorated the shelf above his computer for the past year.  It will be sad to see it go.  But, I wonder what he has in store for me??

Maybe you have a special object from a loved one who is no longer here.  I challenge you to think about the possibility of starting a similar tradition of your own. What wonderful fun to pass it around the family and laugh about times past and the family who came before us.

1 comment:

  1. That is very funny! I love the mini cemetery & the tradition of passing the pot!