Friday, August 6, 2010

Lily's Legacy...Part 1

I've written about Aunt Lily before....Bless her, she passed away last winter, and we recently returned from a trip up North, stopping in Tennessee to put her Estate Sale together, and bring home (at least what we could get in the car-which also was hers) some of the things we inherited from her.....

I adored Lil; she never married, but ran four corporations in New York, and was a "mother/aunt" to my husband and his brother, who died two years ago...Anyway, everything went to us...

Lil never entertained, preferring to say in her wonderful, New York accent, "Ah, come on, I'll take you all out to dinner." I say this in amazement, as she was ready just in case she ever did decide to entertain at home - Royal Doultan crystal (service for 12), china, linens, silver...oh, the silver!

This is a photo of Lily, my husband's father (her brother), and Aunt Mary, who was a hairdresser (as was my husband's father) on Fifth Avenue in New York in the 40's....
Lily is the one with the bow on her hat...she was so cute!
This was the last photograph I took of Lily and my husband...she was 84 by then, and had Alzheimer's...still knew us, but was going downhill rapidly.....
Last night, I couldn't sleep, so around 2 am, I gave up, got up, and got my new toy (my wonderful, new digital camera)....that can do anything ...For 28 years, I was a professional photographer (along with being an interior designer), who shot film - remember film? I also developed my own film, and printed my own shots...even hand-colored many of them.

I tiptoed into the dining room, where I had set out some of the silver...and had hung one of the trays (that's a photo of my father as a boy, and an aunt in the velvet frame...I lit the candles, and decided to experiment with all the "bells and whistles", tell me, which you prefer...(this may get a bit reduntant)

I shot two angles, using the "normal" setting, and not using the flash...never use a flash, as it sucks the life out of a photo...just "push" the film (okay, the ISO)...I can go as fast as 1600, which is wonderful! If you want to see details, double-click on the photo...

I love the the glow of candle light, and the gleam of the silver....(that's one of my hand-painted glass decanters).

Next, I switched to sepia...this is to me the greatest thing since gummy bears were invented!
I used to (yes, I am old...okay, older...62..okay?) have to print the photo, wash and dry the print, then, bleach the print, wash the print, put the print in a stinky, rotten-egg-smelling bath, wash the print much work...Now, (okay, everyone who is under the age of 28 stop laughing at me marveling at this technology)...I push a button!

It brings me to mind of 1940's films shown on Turner Classic Movies, where the man and woman (she has a Marcel hairdo, and is wearing a dressing gown with feather-trimmed sleeves...he is in a smoking jacket, and yes, horrors! they are actually smoking cigarettes, and sipping champagne...she turnes to him, meets his eyes, and smiles..."Happy Dahling?" she croons...
The experiment continues....This is the "neutral" setting...I really like it...not quite "normal", not sepia...gentle...easy on the eyes...almost painterly....

The word "photography" comes from the Greek..."photo" - light -'s writing with light...I love that...again, the reflective quality of the silver makes me want to paint it....

The last setting I tried was "vibrant".... puts me in mind of the 1950's "Technicolor", when it first came out...too bright, to vivid, but boy, was everyone wowed by color....I always loved the scene from "The Wizard of Oz", which was much earlier, when Dorothy (and Toto too) landed in Oz...when it switched over from black-and-white to WOW-color!

This, however, in this case, is not my favorite...makes my eyes hurt...Okay, I'm done...for those of you who could give a rip, I tried not to bore you too much, but for those of you, who are interested in photograpy, hopefully, you will give me your opinion..(s)

This bowl of lemons (yes, Lily's silver bowl - there are more pieces that I have yet to polish)...sits on our round, black kitchen table...under the chandelier...At this point, I got tired enough to crawl back into bed and fall asleep...thanking Lily for her lovely things she passed on to us...we WILL use them!


  1. Hi Jess,
    I love your Lily stories. I can't believe she never married. She was so cute when she was younger. The silver is beautiful. The candle glow shows in the perfect light. I don't know anything about my camera.
    You are the dropcloth master. I buy the 8oz. for slipcovers. I also try to find the ones with the least amount of grey tone to them. From my dining room chairs, if you click on my (pink writing) kitchen post..which takes you to Miss Mustard's blog link. She talks about her process of bleaching them. I got lucky on my color. I had the man up on a ladder grabbing as many as I could find in the same shade/lot#.
    They have terrible wrinkles when they're washed. But I use the gentle cycle and fabric softner. That helps. I do wash and dry mine twice before I sew with them.

  2. I am going to go drop cloth hunting..hmmm. I wonder if the heavier weight work well for floorcloths???
    Lily was in love with her work (private story in there), and took care of her aging parents for many years.
    My new cameral is opening up whole new vistas (pun intended) for me.
    Thanks for stopping by.