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On Linens and Life: Ticking and Time Travel

November 15, 2013

Memories of Another Life by Emma Grayson

I recently read a charming book about a young woman who purportedly travels back in time and in so doing, is given the invaluable opportunity to spend time with a beloved grandmother, long since passed away. This reunion occurs in a little house by the sea and descriptions of its interior abound in pairings of white and various shades of blue. The living room chairs are white and overstuffed, littered with pillows made of vintage French ticking and the rooms smell of roses and lavender. There's a porch swing on the veranda which overlooks a tranquil or violent sea, as the winding plot requires.

And those pillows are lovely. They're vintage, bartered for in a French flea market decades ago, nearly forgotten among the stacks of leather-bound books, bunches of flowers and rows of century- old armoires and dining tables. Despite its age, the pillow's sturdy fabric shows only slight signs of wear along the edges, a testimonial to its quality. The hazy stripes of blue ticking remind me of a happy semester spent down in the south of France.

Perhaps I'm reading in... I can't promise that the author actually talked about hazy stripes of blue. I may have taken the book's descriptions and embellished, just a little, with my own preferences. There's something magical about the sea, something enviable about a grandmother's ability to be forever calm, centered and soothing and it's conceivable that I blended all these iconic things together into a space worthy of them. Or maybe the reason I liked the book so much was because of the time traveling. Instead of revisiting all the pivotal points in life with an eye to changing them, as the heroine does, perhaps I'd simply time travel myself right back to that flea market and search diligently through endless piles of fabric. How much could a hazy blue pillow made of French ticking have cost in the 1800's?