Once again it was time for sorting through our son, Leland’s clothes. He has already outgrown many of them and his chest of drawers was looking a little overstuffed. We thought this could be done in a few minutes since we are so accustomed to quick edits when deciding what to include in the Park Hill Collection. We set up a simple system of two piles, one to give away, the other to keep. When it came to Leland’s clothes we both became blubbering sentimentalists. The “keep” pile kept increasing with articles of clothing that were his first outfit coming home, a cuddly pair of pajamas, a small pair of blue jeans, a plaid shirt that appears in so many photos and even a now inconceivably tiny, stained white t-shirt by his first spew of green beans. I even pulled out the bright red down filled jacket he had worn. Bright red in case anyone tried to kidnap my baby – I could easily keep a visual on him as I chased them down! What has happened to us? We have made so many new memories in just a few short years and many articles of clothing sparked them. I will admit I was teary eyed while sorting the entire time. It surprised me. Not so tough after all!
This experience made us very aware of the power of sentimentalism. How we can become so attached to objects? It is such a wonder how these items can have such an emotional pull on our hearts and minds. Todd’s Mother knows all about this. She is a no nonsense retired school teacher who is known to be the hardest working woman in the tri-county area. Yet, for years she has saved baby Todd’s first jacket, favorite teddy bear, first little shirt and short set, his first electrically illuminated plastic Santa, his first Christmas ornament, tiny rubber boots and numerous other items all carefully archived and tucked away in zip locking plastic bags, just waiting. I know it gave her great joy after waiting for all these years to pull them out for her new grandson while recounting the stories that accompany each item.
We have always designed and developed items with a vintage-style and appeal that are part of our collective childhood memories and part from our aspiration to live a simple country life. We had no idea our Park Hill items would create such an emotional reaction for our customers as well. We have heard countless stories of how people relate their own stories of Park Hill objects similar to something their grandmother or grandfather had. They touch a long dormant emotion that is nice to remember again.
We continue to be inspired by worn bead board, squeaky screen doors, old chipped paint and rust. To this day when I see an old screen door, I immediately can smell hamburgers on a grill at that long-gone café on Main Street in San Joaquin, California. I can see the waitress with the bright red lipstick and sparkling blue eyes ready to take our order and then clip it on a gleaming silver spinning wheel to the cook in back. I can recall the anticipation of waiting to get our food and the excitement of just how big a deal it was to eat with my Dad. All that from just a screen door.