I love doing vignettes. It’s like working a puzzle. All the pieces are there but I’m never quite sure what the final picture is going to look like. That’s the fun part, trying different pieces together until they all fit, and I’m satisfied with the look. For my first today, I created a fresh summery vignette in my grandfather’s metal army trunk.
I uncovered the old trunk late last fall. My grandfather, affectionately called Pop by the family, passed away in 2007. My mom stored his army trunk here at my house and now has let me use it in my decorating schemes. I spent time sorting through the papers, notebooks, scraps and bits that had occupied the rusty trunk for many years, storing them away in a plastic bin. I enjoyed fixing the trunk up for the holidays, which was actually the first such vignette I had ever done with a vintage piece. That fun experience led to other first vignettes. Although I created a holiday scene in the trunk last year, this is the first time I’ve used the trunk for any other decorating.
The vignette that I created last Christmas focused on pieces that connected to my grandfather and his life. I included stars, trees, and a vintage gas can. I loved the treasure hunt I was led on to find the right pieces and the finished look. I hope Pop will forgive me for giving his army trunk a very feminine look this time around! The sticks of willow and the living green plant tucked inside the bird cage remind me of Pop though, who had a knack for growing flowers and vegetables of all kinds. Some of my fondest memories of him are of watching Pop work in his garden. He would allow me to tag along and ask questions and as I grew older, help out in the garden. I’m sure that my love of gardening and getting my hands dirty can be traced back to those days spent trailing after my grandfather as he coaxed green plants to grow and produce.
Pop was a very special man. He served his country bravely during WWII, coming home with a bronze star. When Pop met my grandmother, she was a widow with three young children. My mom remembers seeing Pop in his uniform and thinking he was so handsome. She prayed that this kind man with dark hair and eyes would be her new daddy. Her prayer was answered. He not only raised three children as his own, he was also a wonderful grandfather to the grandchildren that arrived later. He very rarely talked about his time spent in the army. It used to bother me to see tears run down his cheeks when he shared stories from that challenging time.
I will enjoy walking by the trunk multiple times during the day and thinking of Pop as I glance at it. Rather than storing this piece in a closet, out of sight, I’d rather have it serve a purpose here in the open. The trunk is an object of quiet strength, endurance and rugged beauty, offering to serve simply, creatively and completely, without a fuss. Those traits sum up Pop very well too.