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Something to remind me of my parents | Home Again


Today I unpacked a stained-glass light fixture my parents bought in the early 1960s to hang over their dining table in the home they built for their retirement on Camano Island. I can imagine my parents shopping together for that light.

I’d guess my mother noticed the small-scale fixture, hanging among larger ones on display, catching her eye with its stained-glass glow of gold, blue and green light shining through six rectangular panes. I can imagine my mother saying immediately, “Honey, I like that one! Do you like it?”

Well, of course he did! They bought it.

I have no idea what became of the heavy mahogany dining room set I remember from childhood onward, nor do I remember any of the light fixtures above it, as we moved from house to house.

In the 1960s, though, preparing to move into their retirement home, my parents chose a trendy 48-inch walnut-grain round Formica table for their small dining area.

They placed the table, with its gold-upholstered chairs, in front of the used-brick fireplace at the end of the kitchen and hung the stained-glass light.

Often, after they switched the light on at dinnertime, they left it on throughout the evening. In the darkness of morning island rain, it added its glow to every breakfast.

Unfortunately, my parents needed to leave their little dream home after only two or three years. Even with a bridge to the mainland, my father soon needed to live closer to his doctors.

So, regretfully, they moved back to Edmonds, where my brother Warren welcomed them into the lower level of his chalet-style home.

He and my dad created a one-bedroom apartment, which my mom turned into a cozy home for two. There was space for the 48-inch round Formica table. Above it, they again hung the stained-glass light.

In recent years, a box containing the light fixture occupied a top shelf in a closet in my brother’s condo. Last week, on a day I was thinking about my mother a lot, I decided one of us needed to find a space to hang the light in our home.

Warren agreed – and agreed that I would be the likely one to use it. I don’t know yet where I’ll hang it (a swag style, not hard-wired), but I had a happy feeling just removing it from the box.

Also, it was fun to smooth out the crumpled newspapers in which the fixture was packed and skim the 1995 news.

I learned that Carol Channing was starring in “Hello, Dolly” at the Paramount Theatre, The Bon Marche was featuring Five Star Cooking Classes and the Blue Parrot Café (51 West Dayton St.) was known as an address for fine dining.

I’m glad I brought the light home.

I took it out of its dusty box to admire for the first time in many years and considered that after I hang it, it will daily remind me of my parents’ final years together.

I’ll be putting to good use something they chose together and enjoyed.

I think every time I turn it on and see its warm stained-glass glow, I’ll feel a warm glow, too.


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