Our first nest was rather humble — a garden (think mostly below ground) one-bedroom apartment with a lovely view of the sidewalk. As newlyweds living on the $6,000/year salary I earned as a teacher and paying for some medical school fees for my husband, we really couldn’t afford to do much feathering of this nest. What we did do, however, makes me cringe today.
Our first nest was rather humble. We really couldn’t afford to do much feathering of this nest.
Most of the basics were wedding gifts. We had a bedroom set from my parents, a wall unit from my in-laws, and a television from my grandparents. Our décor consisted of vases, crystal bowls, and assorted shower and wedding gifts. My father’s paintings decorated our bare, white walls. Obviously, we needed a few more items to occupy this space.
How to decorate the living room? We bought an ugly orange-gold sofa on sale somewhere and used the stacking tray tables we received as a shower gift as end tables. An inexpensive wicker chest served as storage and a coffee table. Opposite the sofa, we placed the wall unit, which was held up by metal poles that ran from the tile floor to the ceiling. And the pièce de résistance was a round rug (to be different?) created from a remnant to match the sofa colors.
The kitchen posed another problem. We found a round white table and four ugly black chairs super cheap at a dinette store. The kitchen décor was boring, plain and white, including the metal kitchen cabinets. The cheapest solution we could think of was to contact paper a wall in a design featuring the popular colors of the day, orange, avocado green, and brown. I’m sorry I don’t have a photo of it because it was stunning. Amazingly, the landlord didn’t confiscate our security deposit to pay for removal and repainting when we left. Perhaps he also though it added a touch of class?
The wall unit led to the first catastrophe of our young marriage. In the middle of the night, we were awakened by a loud crash. The wall unit holding everything we owned that was of any value fell. Our nest was unfeathered. Lost in the disaster — most of our good crystal, several cut-glass bowls, decorative vases, figurines — anything breakable that we had received as a shower or wedding gift. In retrospect, it was naïve of us to think the metal poles would hold all of this, given that they were suspended between a tile floor and the ceiling of the unit above us, which housed three very active young boys.
For years, my parents gifted us with crystal wine and water glasses to supplement the few that survived the crash. The irony is that we never use then. Amazingly, our china survived as it was stored in padded containers. Of course, that too has moved with us from our first nest to our next two apartments to our house to our current condo. I can count the times we used it on my hands. Luckily, the television set landed on our beautiful round rug and worked just fine. I’m sure if it had been a flat screen like we have today, it wouldn’t have made it. And this crystal bowl from my aunt somehow shared the soft landing with the TV.
What I learned from this catastrophe was that these were just things, which we could eventually replace when we could afford it. I told my young grandson the same thing when he was upset about misplacing a kiddy fitness watch. Of all of the feathers in our original nest, aside from the china and crystal which was eventually replaced, two items remain. The bowl from my aunt and the wicker storage chest that graced our living room and now resides in our laundry room, still useful in its ability to hold our cleaning supplies.
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.