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Attic cleaning, letter reading, and other pursuits

By Staff | Jul 25, 2020

There is a significant link between family treasures and memories. But the key to enjoying these treasures is in the way they elevate your feelings.

With COVID-19 hanging around, we continue to spend most of our time at home. We have made a list of things we need to do around the house, such as cleaning our attic. Now this is a hard thing to spring on people who are savers.

The recommended process takes a few cups of coffee, a bike ride down University Avenue, and watching a classic black and white movie to ease one into this process.

I have found that nothing breaks the tension of starting a new task like thinking about the conclusion of the effort. Are you with me on this one? You feel better knowing that the energy put forth will be a step in the right direction toward better organization. The thought of being able to locate my pinecone collection from 5th grade with ease puts me on board.

Things that departed the attic with ease were ordinary clothes that no longer fit, shoes that hurt my feet, lamps that I had plans to rewire, and old newspapers (but only after I read them-some were dated back to 2009) These and several others items needed to move on so that the pinecone collection and former prom streamers could be fetched effortlessly.

Naturally in the process of sorting we came across many things that had to be saved. Jan’s hot pink dress with matching purse and pumps, Lydia’s doll house, my grandparents pink depression oil lamp and so much more. Conceivably the items that we enjoyed viewing most were not those of great monetary value but sentimental value-like correspondence from loved ones and friends through the years. Rereading these letters and cards from family members who have passed away brought back wonderful memories of them. This written correspondence recalls their way of life, events of joy, their caring and loving ways. It reminded me that saving correspondence is legendary, and they were neatly repacked.

When my mom passed away, I placed her recent clothes in a suitcase. That suitcase is now empty with most of her twin sets donated to good will. That season in my life has passed but seeing these garments again before letting go of them caused me to stop and think about her and all that she gave to our family. That felt good. Had I quickly gotten rid of these earlier, that would have been a mistake for me. Growing up she had encouraged me to always follow my instincts “don’t let other people tell you what to do,” and she was right. Listening to our own voice is often the key to overcoming a loss and so much more.

Placed in a flat, cardboard apple box were many recipes with a label that read “recipes I want to try.” I knew it would be worthless to try and sort this out because I would still want to make them all. On the top of the pile was a recipe that I had picked up several years ago for Pave’. Jan and I first enjoyed Pave’ while on our honeymoon in Maine at a quaint seaside restaurant. It was apricot pave’ with chocolate curls resting on top of a cloud of real whipped cream. Sorting can in inspirational and opening this box inspired me to make pave’. Would I make it again? Yes, and next time I would try another flavor.

Pave’ is French for “paving stone” from its rectangular or square shape. The word “pave’ “can actually be applied to several food preparations done in the shape of a block such as cheeses. In French pastry, pave’ generally refers to a rich cake based on layers of genoise filled with butter cream and sometime fruit. Pave’ is similar to tiramisu.

Once I read this recipe, I knew that it was one that could still perform a kitchen cartwheel. When neatly layered, frosted with whipped cream topping and finished with a garnish, these cakes are impressive. The assembly of this cake reminded me of the method used for ribbon sandwiches. First the sponge layer is cut into three equal portions, sprinkled with a small amount of Grand Marnier and strawberry juice, buttercream is spread between layers and topped with strawberries. Next whipped cream is spread over the whole cake and the cake is then garnished with more whipped cream, fresh fruit and chopped nuts. The real joy comes when the cake is cut and reveals beautiful buttercream paired with ruby red strawberries, the cake’s texture and pattern.

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