What It Is: A pair of ceramic cats which I'm told are planters. No maker's marks on the bottom except arcane numbers.
Where It Came From: My maternal grandparents' house.
What It Means:
These are something that I wouldn't look twice at if there weren't memories attached to them.
I grew up next door to my mother's parents, so they were always there as part of the family, though not part of the household. They had an old, cozy house that essentially consisted of three rooms: a bedroom/TV room in front, a living room in the middle, and a kitchen/laundry in the back. There was an upstairs, accessed by a steep, rickety staircase behind a door tucked away in a corner, and apparently my mother and uncles had had their rooms there growing up, but by my time, it was more like an attic in function and we hardly ever went up there.
The living room with its black metal wood stove was where Grandma and Grandpa always sat, and where we sat and visited with them, but often, while the adults were doing that, us kids would go play in the yard, or on the rest of the farm, or just in the front room. There was the big bed whose wood veneer we kids didn't know enough to have respect for and would pull bits off of if they were loose. There was a sofa (or to use Grandma's word, a "davenport"). There was an old black Singer sewing machine in a cabinet, my mother and uncles' high school pictures on the wall along with some odd picture of birds that incorporated real feathers and ones of ski-jumpers in silhouette, and a crocheted rug in autumnal colors with an octagon or hexagon shape. For a time there was an exercise bike. There was an old TV with its own wooden cabinet, various knicknacks on top and sometimes my cousin's NES attached, and then there was an old record player.
I never actually saw the record player in use. It had an enclosed hard cover, a tall spindle that I understand was a proto disk-changer of some kind, and a cabinet underneath with spaces for records (I think "Sentimental Journey" was in there) and a compartment where there was a stethoscope --- an ever-present temptation, even though I got in trouble if I played with it. As I said, I never saw the thing actually playing; it just sat there with the cover closed --- and these two cats sitting on top.
Mom tells me they're planters, but their shape seems really pretty unsuited. There may have been a philodendron in or near them at some point, but mostly they were just catchalls for change or old glasses or whatever. And yet they stood, proud and uncluttered, unlike the collected doodads on top of the TV.
My grandfather passed away when I was still in middle school, and my grandmother some years later. These are one of the things that came to our house after that. They're still just catch-alls if anything, and we can't call the places they sit "proud and uncluttered" anymore, but they bring back memories.
Where It's Going: Nowhere.