I found this old photograph among my mother-in-law’s collection. It’s a picture of her, taken sometime in the mid-seventies. I apologize for the quality of the photo, but it was taken with a Polaroid camera, and didn’t stand the test of time very well.
In the photo, Ed’s mom has her hand on a set of spiral display shelves. The shelves were a gift to her from my brother and his wife, nearly forty years ago. Vivian had seen the shelves, while visiting their home, and greatly admired them. Eventually, the couple decided to give the shelves to Vivian. I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled she was when they brought the shelves to her–all the way from their home in Florida!
From that day forward, the shelves have been used to hold various “what-nots”, as well as for hanging family Christmas stockings during the holidays. For many years, the railing of the shelves also served as a hand rail for climbing up and down the den steps, as Ed’s mom grew older. Today, they continue to stand in their place of honor!
The photo was taken in my MIL’s den, or what we commonly refer to as “the red room”. The room was originally a carport, but it was closed in and turned into a den around 1971, while Ed was away in the army. It was decorated in Spanish decor of red, black, and white. This decor was quite popular in the seventies.
When I first met Ed, in 1969, the den was still a carport. If you look closely, you may be able to see the steps, just to the right of Vivian. (The steps are covered in red carpeting, so they’re difficult to see.) I was sitting on those steps, watching Ed work on his car, the first time I ever met my future mother-in-law. She and I still remember that day, but I often wonder for how much longer we both will, as time continues to dim our memories.
I was a frequent visitor to the home of my future in-laws during their carport renovation process, often spending weekends there while Ed was away in the army. I was with Vivian when she chose much of her decor, much of it purchased after Ed and I were married in 1972. Vivian’s good friend, Maxine, made all of the cushions and pillows for the long seating area lining the brick wall of “the red room”. Maxine’s husband, Paul, assisted Ed’s dad with much of the construction of “the red room”, as well.
Ed’s dad and Uncle “B”- enjoying Christmas in “the red room”
The family has spent many happy hours in “the red room” throughout the years. Ed and I held our rehearsal dinner in “the red room”, and Ed’s oldest brother held his wedding there, as well. I remember many Saturday nights spent together in “the red room”, watching “Hee Haw” or late-night wrestling with Ed’s parents.
Of course, there were also lots of family Christmases in “the red room”, too! There was always a huge Christmas tree, and we’d gather around it to open our gifts. Ed’s dad would build a roaring fire in the fireplace, and many times we’d have to open the outside door to cool the room off! By the end of Christmas, Vivian’s red Christmas tapers, on the mantle, would usually be drooping from the heat of Grandpas’s fires!
Happy grandchildren at Christmas – The spiral shelves are in the right of the photo, decorated for Christmas
The grandchildren (older) playing a game of Monopoly in “the red room”
Over the years, but at different times, both of our (young adult) sons lived with Ed’s mom, following the death of her husband. During this time, “the red room” was their domain, since Vivian’s house also has a second den located in the back of her home. Vivian stayed in the back of the house, and gave the boys their privacy in “the red room.” I’m sure, each son has their own memories of time spent in “the red room” while living with their Mema.
Time marches on, and “the red room” has now grown dark and silent. Ed’s dad, and friends, Maxine and Paul, left this world several years ago, but their memories live on through us. Vivian currently resides in an assisted living facility. Both of our sons have married and moved on, as well. I’m not quite sure what the future holds for “the red room”, but it sure does have a glorious past.