My most prized possession is a painting. When I was a baby we lived in Thessaloniki, Greece and my mother bought a lovely watercolour depicting the harbour. That painting hung in my parents’ bedroom all the years I was growing up and well beyond. I used to stare at it and imagine being there – it seemed like a magical place.
One day our parents showed us some old black and white photos of our time there. Standard family pictures of the day: my parents so young, me in my first year (unrecognizable to myself) and then as a toddler playing at the beach with my older sister. Mother commented, “That water was so blue.”
Then another old photo of the waterfront, “Look!” I said, “It’s the same harbour with that round tower!”
“It is a famous building,” she told me, “Called The White Tower.”
It was built, probably in the early 1500’s by the Ottomans and was once part of the old city walls. When Greece regained control of the town it was restored and became a symbol of the city. I vowed to go there someday. As a young adult I asked if I could have that little 2 x 3-inch photograph. I framed it and set it on my piano.
After my father passed away, Mother wanted one of us to go on a cruise of the Mediterranean with her and I jumped at the chance because one of the ports of calls was Thessaloniki. She was approaching eighty and I was middle aged and I ‘d never been on a cruise. We started in Athens and saw the Acropolis, we went to Rhodes, Ephesus and Istanbul. All marvelous and memorable places I will never forget. The highlight for us, however as you might imagine, was Thessaloniki. We sailed into the harbour and there was the White Tower on the left; to my great delight the scene looked just like the artist’s depiction decades earlier. The painting I knew and loved so well. We toured the city and visited the wonderful Archaeological Museum, but the magical moment for me was just the two of us walking around the tower, touching the stones.
Visiting my mother ten years later, I noticed the watercolour on the floor, the glass cracked and the frame broken. “Would you like me to fix it for you?” “No,” she said, “You take it, to remember our trip.” She was about to move into assisted living and had to down-size. I had the frame matted in blue to pick up the blue water. The painting now hangs over my piano next to the little black and white photograph where I can look at it everyday. It has become a family heirloom and when my little granddaughter is old enough I will tell her its story and someday she can hang it in her own home.
Thanks to (very popular blogger and talented writer) Damyanti for the invitation to share this memory. How about you – do you have a cherished object?