The stacks of boxes stood undisturbed for three years in Linda Larkins’ spare bedroom in the house on Tanglevine. The containers were filled with her mother’s belongings, and Larkins simply wasn’t ready to open them.
The two had been close, loving to hunt together for treasures at garage sales, to go “antiquing.” The sudden death of Larkins’ mother was a blow, and she needed time to decide what to do about the memories.
When the right day came along, Larkins asked interior designer Sherry Butterfield to help her create a new room – a “personal” room where Larkins could quilt and paste in her scrapbooks, a peaceful place where she would be at home with her mother’s collectibles and mementos.
They started with D.J. Geldert, an artist who had painted a mural in the mother’s house.
“Linda went out of town, and the painting was done when she returned,” says Butterfield, who then chose other paint colors, fabrics and furniture to blend the artwork with existing belongings.
Today the bucolic scenery faces a wonderful quilt hung on the bedroom door that Larkins and her mother bought “at a steal” at auction. To the left of the doorway is a whimsical sign that Larkins’ mother had posted in her own home, “Kitchen’s Closed – This Chick’s Had It.” Chick was her mother’s nickname.
A built-in desk is tucked into one end of the room and a new couch is in the other end; the couch converts to a bed for guests, so the room has an additional useful purpose now. Arranged around the desk and couch are more of Mother’s things – an antique doll’s highchair, a cedar chest full of baby clothes, an unusual old wicker pie basket with a decoratively painted hardwood lid.
Atop a farmhouse dining table is a skate tin from the mother’s childhood.
“Mother grew up in a large family, and there were only so many toys to go around,” Larkins says. “This kind of thing seemed important to her.”
Also on the table is a large scrapbook with a wooden cover made awhile back by Larkins and her husband, Richard, to house Mother’s Eastern Star memories. To one side sits a little ceramic church.
Larkins picks up a Bible from the end table.
“My mother was given this in 1951 for learning 100 Bible verses,” she says.
Other items are just bits and pieces.
“Mother couldn’t resist anything that was a good deal,” she laughs. “One day, she brought home a saddle.
“We didn’t have a horse.”