Sunday, July 6, 2008

My obsession with white

Albie is always asking me why I'm so obsessed with white.

I love different colors on the walls, but I want all our trim around the house and our kitchen cabinets to be white. To me, it's just common sense.

White makes a small room look bigger. White reflects light from the windows, and it makes the wall colors glow.

Albie thinks I'm crazy. So I started digging into my memory a bit. Perhaps there's an explanation.

When I was a little girl in Sweden, I had a traumatic experience involving paint colors.

My grandmother's friend Arne was a hobby carpenter. He built everything from bird houses to foot stools, things with gorgeously carved-out details.

Arne once made a furniture set for his niece, consisting of a table and two small benches. They were was white, and when I was 5 years old, it was the most beautiful set of furniture I had ever seen.

That summer, I received the same set. It was pure pine, and I immediately told my mom and grandma that "I want to paint it white."
"Sure," they said.
On the last day of school (kindergarten), I walked home and found my mom and grandmother out in the garden with my furniture. They were covering it with a clear, oil-based varnish.
"What are you doing?" I screamed, as I was running towards them from my shortcut through the yard.
"We are painting it," my grandmother replied.
"But I want it white!" I said.
"Your mom thought this would look nicer," grandma replied.
"But I want it WHITE!" I said again, now sobbing. "Can we paint over it?"
"No," my mom said. "You can't put paint on top of varnish."
Every time I played with the table and benches, I cringed at the thought of my ruined furniture. I still have the pieces in my storage room. Maybe one day I will paint them white.

3 comments:

BluePlastic said...

Awww, how sad! It wasn't your mom's furniture, so it shouldn't have mattered what she thought looked better :( Some people just have no respect for the fact that kids are people too, with their own preferences.

I hope you do get to paint them white someday. :)

ab said...

Paint it white! Better late than never!

Vickan said...

Blueplastic - Yeah, it has always annoyed me when adults just act like kids' opinions don't matter. It's one thing not to let the kids be in charge or control the family, but in this case, it was MY furniture for MY room, so I should get to decide what to do.

AB - I think some day I will. For now, the set will wait for me in Sweden...