My burning house

This week last year, I was walking determinedly away from Elmwood in the middle of the night as dozens of fire fighters rushed in. Remember that story?

It was below freezing and all I grabbed as I left was an ancient down parka and my camera. House full of priceless family heirlooms from the past 200 years and I didn't ever bother with actual pants. When fellow New York blogger Foster Huntington asked me to be a part of his new project The Burning House, a photo documentation of what's worth saving, I couldn't help but laugh. I knew what I'd save and it wouldn't be much. But, of course, the spirit of the blog is more than literal, it's a visual articulation of what means the most to you.

I once read if you ask a woman what her favorite piece of clothing is, she'll show you her newest purchase and if you ask a man, he'll show you his oldest. I got this edwardian corset cover dress a few weeks ago, so the parable must be true. My most cherished shoes, on the other hand, I got 6 years back and they've been re-heeled every year since. Vintage alligator Ralph Laurens that cost an eye popping $25 at a thrift store, but if the shoe fits.


My aunt Teri painted this oil study of Elmwood and my other aunt put it in the giveaway pile a few years later.  She said she didn't think it was up to snuff, but I adore it to no end.

When I turned 18, my grandfather sent me my very own key to the house, complete with a hand written tag and the world elm dremmled on it. It lives in my wallet, just in case.

I bought these fancy rosewood clippers as a present to myself when I got my job at Saipua two years ago. I was over the moon with excitement. Even though the clippers aren't the most useful ones I have now, I really love remembering how thrilled I was when I got them.

My wallet might as well be priceless treasure. One of my dearest of friends gave it to me on a whim and it was love at first sight. I thought it was some insanely well kept ali macgraw in love story type deal from the 70s but it was a sample of a never made marc jacobs collection wallet he swiped for a song when we both worked for the company. If I have my way, I'll use this wallet until I die.

Lastly this little trio of bowls are the first things I ever made in my pottery class. I'd be heartbroken to loose the record of how far I've come and how far I have left to go. 

But of course, making it out alive is number one. Making sure my great-grandmothers ring is on my finger and my camera is around my neck is number two. Everything else is just hopeless sentimentality, especially since I discovered online computer backup last year.

The link to my post on Foster's blog is here and I hope you go through the more recent entries while you're over there. So many wonderful things and so many interesting people. He also accepts reader submissions, too. I'd really love to hear what you'd save if you could.

27 comments:

  1. I got to admit I really like that painting too! Is it a family home you can visit? And the key with the tag......what a beauty!

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  2. Great-grandmother's ring--that's a definite save!

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  3. Lovely post.

    The top photo is beautiful - it has such a story to tell!

    And I agree, your aunt Teri's painting is adorable.

    Niki @ http://little-quaint-moments-and-memories.blogspot.com/
    xx

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  4. I love this idea! I think I'll submit one myself. Love your choices and the painting's beautiful as well.

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  5. I love this post a whole whole lot. You just don't see people getting shoes re-heeled anymore these days. I think that's so special.

    When I was little I kept a suitcase in my closet, full of the things I would want to grab in case there was a fire.

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  6. What a beautiful post and the painting is truly gorgeous.

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  7. I love reading your posts... In fact, I often re-read them. Can someone just give you a book deal already?

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  8. YES YES YES! I went through my apt and made a box of thngs I'd save Worst Cas Scenario style when the tornadoes were ripping through the south.

    Lisa told me I chose poorly because I had 3 things she found to be replaceable: laptop, camera, and a silver tray from tiffanys that she had engraved with our wedding invitation. Ha!

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  9. Thanks guys!

    Ro, it's my family's summer house. Headed up there today so lots of photos await!

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  10. Great post! :)

    http://sweetharvestmoon.blogspot.com

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  11. Beautiful post. Beautiful things.

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  12. Beautiful post and lovely photographs. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to pics from the summer house. Items like that key are truly to be cherished.

    www.thedarlingera.com

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  13. I love all your treasures, just lovely. don't forget the calender girls : ) http://emersonmerrick.blogspot.com/2009/02/calender-girls.html

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  14. Beautiful photos so rich with color...you've inspired me to make my own list. Something really worth taking the time to think about, isn't it? xoBlenda

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  16. These photos are just stunning. I agree with those above - It's made me think! The key is such a lovely keepsake.
    Lauren x
    www.guilty--pleasures.blogspot.com

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  17. this is awesome. i'm not thinking about what i'd save...everything i can think of is ridiculously perishable (journals, photos, etc).

    i have to share that i've been following your blog for the last few months (i read your piece on yahoo finance) and have been a devotee ever since. you're an amazing artist and your blog lifts my spirits on days when i feel blahhh or just plain need a beauty boost for my eyes. much appreciated ms. merrick. =)

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  18. My home burnt down 2 years ago..i grabbed my great grandmas cookie jar and for some reason our gold silver wear which i later found out wasn't gold..i locked the door and left...2 years later and countless reflections and conversations about lost collections, heirlooms, treasures, and photos the only thing i replaced exactly was my typewriter, no other machine would do.

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  19. Love this all!

    xoxo,

    colormenana.blogspot.com

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  20. Aside from all living creatures, of course, the most important thing to me would be my photographs. Photographs are the most amazing and important treasure ever invented... they capture actual moments in time. What could be more important than that? Memories you can SEE!

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  21. " SS" with RICK YOUNG?
    And RISA?
    What a bunch of assholes.

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  22. KARL ROVE IS MAJOR!
    NAZI!!!!

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  23. An amazing assortment of treasures.

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  24. This is so wonderful! I can't imagine how many stories that key has to tell. What a beautiful keepsake.

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  25. In love with the shoes... i'm sure it holds alot of memory for you!

    http://namrata-noted.blogspot.com/

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  26. that story makes me sick to my stomach, but what an intriguing post! I love the key, how cute!

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  27. we love foster...and we love your site. not sure how we missed this one- but so glad to have found it and are all caught up. thanks for your continuous inspiration. -sara

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