A purple story has long been in our family. Started by my darling Auntie Thelma, who loved the color best. My aunt was the older of my mother’s two sisters. The tallest, most robust, and memorable of the girls. Such personality overkill in that rifle-totin’, plaid flanneled, deer-hunting lady pictured alongside her husband, while camping in the woods. But for the day job? Auntie would be dressed to the nines, or the tens. With blazing, red hair worn in the up-do style of “I Love Lucy” fame, curls coiled into a cloud of corkscrews, supported by myriad bobby pins. Auntie’s eyebrows were fiercely drawn in and her lips outlined with deep red. Or purple.
Thelma’s hearty laugh and good nature made her welcome everywhere. I remembered her so well. But I especially remembered how much she loved the color purple, decking herself out in lavender dresses and deep purple sweaters. There were rugs on the floors and pillows on the sofa in her approved color. We all knew a purple gift would be more than appreciated. I remember when my mother, an artist of local repute, painted a still-life for Auntie in her favorite shades. The vase of lilacs set against a deep purple background maintained a starring role on my aunt’s entry wall for many years.
I wasn’t a fan of my Auntie Thelma’s color preferences. Not until I had my first boyfriend in high school. A boy who also loved shades of purple, maybe as much as my aunt. Suddenly, I was all about purple. In a bold move, I sewed a cute lavender dress for school I thought he’d like. He responded by wanting even more purple. My prom dress ended up a soft, whisper of a thing, with a filmy lavender overdress covering a shiny shift of lavender satin. It was heavenly. I walked on clouds all evening.
But we were a high school romance and both of us moved on. I left my purple fancies behind, favoring mauves and magentas. Eventually I became enamored with amethyst jewelry and the old adoration awakened a tendency toward the color periwinkle. Heavens, I even found a flowered ground-cover called periwinkle. New, yet familiar territory.
Recently, I discovered a Lavender Farm near my home. What a find! Right away I was reminded of my old lavender-love locked in storage for another time. Besides the beautiful color, one could soak in lavender bath bubbles, dab on the aroma of a lavender fragrance, burn scented candles, & put out dishes filled with dried lavender fronds. They were easy decoration, too. A vase, pitcher, or jar filled with dried Provence Lavender bunches gave a natural elegance to the most simple space.
My imagination took flight and I thought about all the vintage, cotton and linen handkerchiefs I’d inherited from my Auntie Thelma – many printed with purple flowers, others pristine-white, edged in lace. They’d make lovely sachets for Christmas gifts. A sort of heritage offering. What else could I make with all those fresh and dried bundles from the lavender farm?
My niece, Kristen, once gifted me with some homemade, lavender cookies. So yummy. I’d make those, too. Maybe bring to a family event and include a vintage hankie with Auntie Thelma’s purple theme? I could feel the pull of cozy, fall days beckoning. With long evenings to craft and cook.
And resurrect memories for the love of purple.