28/02/2006

forgive the nostalgia

In the mid 1970´s my parents bought expensive flaming orange crushed plush sofas for our living room. They were matched with Italian ceramic statue table lamps (the tables were glass with faux marble), and a rust and cream colored carpet. The walls of our living room were wood panelling. My parents took the plastic off their sofa, though. I was thinking of them because my father sent me a CD with photos where my sister is sitting on her really nice, plain but pretty sofa.

The flaming orange sofas were used only once a year...on Christmas Eve. We would open our presents here. The rest of the year these sofas were for decorative use only. (We used the basement for daily living where there were actually more normal sofas.)

Sometimes, I ask myself where all my corniness comes from?? I think it has little to do with the fact that although I was born and raised in a typical American suburb of a major American city, in fact, I grew up in a typical "aldeia pequena Minhota." The street where I lived until I was six years old had about 30 apartments 2/3 of which were occupied by Portuguese immigrants, all from the same geographical area of the deep northern Minho region (Arcos de Valdevez, Ponte da Barca etc.).

In the few square miles of South Norwood (a part of town) lived a small community of Portuguese people who liked to know eveything about everyone when they got together at the Portuguese American Club for the big Saturday night dinner and dance. Dances that were to the tune of Marco Paulo or Quim Barreiros or even better the "concertina".

I could easily distinguish a Portuguese immigrant´s house from among the many houses on any given street. Hanging in the windows were the lace and organza-with-cutouts-of-flowers-or-butterflies-or-both-curtains...Made in China. These were sold in shops owned by Portuguese immigrants as were the sofas and lamps and tables that my parents bought.

The house of a Portuguese immigrant usually had vinyl siding, meaning that it was not a house where you saw the wood or bricks. The siding was usually of bright colors....white, yellow, greenish blue. But the major clue that it was a casa Portuguesa was the statue in the front yard. Usually, it was the Lady of Fatima but it could be also be Stº Antonio or Jesus. Sometimes it was just a decorative garden statue like a deer or a donkey. Here is an example that Sushiesque captured in Somerville, a town near Boston with many Portuguese houses.

I forget what happened to those sofas. I remember them fondly. I remember remember and miss them fondly.

3 comentários:

Luisa disse...

Bonias recordações essas da tua infância num pequeno Portugal na grande América.
Que será feito dos sofás???

beautiful disse...

adorei as "Boston Photo Nerds"...
tão boas e doces recordações Mary, é bom ter tantas recordações de infância....

As Musas disse...

A histótia do sofã fez-me lembrar um sofã que os meus pais tiveram (que ainda têm), compraram quando vieram de angola, hà mais de 30 anos, já teve várias cores, pois a falta de dinheiro fez com o estofassem várias vezes, em vez de comprar outro (boa ideia de recilagem), agora está no escritório lá de casa e ainda é confortável!