I’ve discovered that I have an addiction that previously went undiagnosed.
My affliction? Gallery walls. Not until I contemplated moving to another home did I realize how many gallery walls I have in my house.
The stairwell from kitchen to family room started with only two graduation pictures, grandparents, and baby pics. But it grew! First I added a couple that I called “human interest pictures.” Josh was quick to point out that his sister’s picture was with Senator Jim Bunning at the White House and his was getting a haircut. True. But both have human interest. Then, as we had family pictures taken each fall, I’d add an 8 x 10 of the most recent and a smaller one of last year’s picture. Since we’ve been taking family pictures for over 40 years, we have lots! Then, of course, I wanted to add Kelsey’s birth parents and our “foster daughter,” Holly.
When we first moved to this house in 1985, I started a small gallery in the upstairs hall, featuring a family picture plus baby pictures of each child and small coin collections of their birth year that a sweet man at church had given them.
Our living room gallery began with a gift of a drawing of Findlay Market, our favorite farmers’ market shopping area in Cincinnati. I had a few more pictures in black and white that our grandchildren had entered in competitions, plus black and white pictures of Steve’s dad and mine. Voila! Another gallery wall was born. Yes, and they’re often a bit crooked.
Above the bed in Kelsey’s old room are old family pictures, pictures from our big family cruise in 2013, and wedding pics of our kids. In a shadow box are two dolls for which my aunt, Willie Ella Bradley, crocheted wedding clothes about 65 years ago.
More recent collections are on our office walls. Above Steve’s office loveseat is a grouping we call our “inspiration wall.” On it, we feature missionaries and projects that we support—including a well dug in Kenya and a church building constructed in India. The center clock was a gift from a Brazilian couple we sponsor.
Above my desk in our shared office are mementos of trips or special memories, from Betsy McCall paper dolls to Swiss postcards to an old barn on my farm property. The top left is one of my favorite Calvin & Hobbes cartoons EVER, which Steve had framed as a retirement gift for me. It features a lot that I’m interested in—from local deer to parent-teacher conferences. I love it.
And let’s not forget my extensive collection of antique alphabet plates, many on our walls. These are just two examples, in dining room and front hall.
I could write a whole blog post on each of these walls that is so special to me. And yet—what now? We are downsizing and our new place has more walls of windows and fewer walls on which to hang pictures. I’m hoping our children want some of the pictures. I’ll surely find places to hang a few, but then I also have some paintings we’ve loved over the years and I want to hang them, too.
Who knows? I don’t. But what I do know is that I’ve loved being surrounded by these personal, precious pictures all these years. I’ll always keep these memories in my heart.
And feel sorry for the next owners who have such a vast number of nail holes in their walls!