One thing I used to collect was vintage tablecloths. Those printed cloths that were made from the 1930s to 1960s. They were printed with florals or fruits. Some had geometric shapes. Others were whimsical with drawings of kitchen utensils. There were also cloths that pictured scenery and people.
Saying I collect them isn't quite right. I didn't buy the tablecloths and safely store them. I used them. And that's why I only have a few left. (There's several more somewhere. Probably in the laundry.)
And saying I used to collect them isn't quite right either. I still keep my eye out for these beautiful old tablecloths. There aren't as many out there anymore and the prices have gotten sky-high. So I've gotten a lot fussier about the condition of the tablecloth in order to justify the cost.
But when I use these tablecloths, I think of the other women who set their tables with them. Did they like to place the dishes just-so to best show the motifs? Did they use them to bring some color to the table? Did anybody else bring out the strawberry tablecloth on the gloomiest, coldest winter day?
Do I set my table with their memories? Is our present and future served up along with other times, other people?