Nana’s Closet


Amie's grandfather's christening shoes (shown on the right) provided inspiration for the Luz shoe (left)

Amie’s grandfather’s christening shoes (shown on the right) provided inspiration for the Luz shoe (left)

For me, family is top on my list. It is infused into many aspects of Livie & Luca, both purposefully and unintentionally.

Inspiration shows up just about anytime, and since family is number one in my book, it was hardly surprising when one day a few years ago, I found myself snapping a picture of my grandfather’s christening shoes and sending it off to Mitzi. I have always been drawn to all things vintage, from antiques and collectibles to cheap thrift store finds. I wonder what their story is, where they’ve been, what memories were made with them? I think that this also is intertwined with my passion for sustainability and reuse.

I took a walk down memory lane last week over winter break. We were cleaning out my grandmother’s home in preparation for an estate sale after her recent downsizing to a one-bedroom apartment. My grandparents’ home has always been filled with antiques and collectibles. I couldn’t bear to see it all go up for sale. I wanted to keep some items in the family, mostly for the memories. So, I spent a day going through the stuff she didn’t take with her.

As a small child, my favorite place in my grandparents’ home was Nana’s closet. I loved trying on all of her shoes. Now as an adult, I found myself again in her closet…after so many years. I was surprised to still be excited by her shoe collection, but for a different reason. I saw a whole shelf full of carefully stored shoes, most in individual shoe boxes (some awesome vintage plastic too, with $1.00 price tags and all). There were many pairs with shoe horns, to maintain their shape. It was an intimate and special moment as I reflected on how well she cared for her shoes. I chose a few pairs, for my daughter to use as dress up, and I walked away with a deeper understanding of my grandmother, and her generation, when material items were not as disposable as they are today.

I kept some family heirlooms as well – my great grandmother’s herringbone dinnerware and my great grandfather’s desk chair. I even discovered the christening gown that went with the shoes I had photographed a few years ago, and gave it to my mom for safekeeping.

Amie's favorite find, a handpainted picnic basket from her Nana

Amie’s favorite find, a handpainted picnic basket from her Nana

I also had a laugh with my Nana as I asked permission to keep my most favorite find…an old picnic basket-like purse, hand painted, that I remember her using when I was a small child. The moment I saw it, I was transported back to my early years in their home in La Jolla. I remember playing in their pool, eating Klondike bars with my grandfather, whom I called Gramps, and how him catching me at the bottom of the slide at the park.

I want my children to value and cherish family as much as I do, so the holidays and time we spend with our family is all about making memories. Just as I have these memories of my grandparents, I made a point to foster the opportunity for my children to make these same memories with them. Gramps passed away a few years ago, but before he did, my oldest two children were able to bond with him and form a special relationship with one another.

While they were in preschool, we had a standing date. Each Wednesday we had lunch with my grandparents. They shared Klondike bars for dessert, just like I did as a girl, and I feel so blessed that my two oldest children were able to spend such precious time with them.

When my grandfather was ill, a few months before he passed, we still went for our weekly visits. One day I was in the kitchen with Nana, helping to get lunch made, while my son Andres was in the living room with Gramps. He was four, and Gramps was 84. I overheard Andres casually ask, “So, Gramps, how was your day?”, and the two just chatted like old friends and good buddies. They had such a special relationship, and I can’t help but think that part of who Andres and Yanela are today is influenced by their relationship with their great-grandparents. It brings tears to my eyes, but also a smile to my lips.

Those little intimate moments are what I live for and what keep me going. They can happen at any time, and I find that treating each day as irreplaceable opens up the space to enjoy and cherish the small moments, whether it’s a family dinner, watching the kids splash and giggle with joy as they play in the tub, or a snuggle during bedtime reading. And all this – cherishing these little moments, creating these snippets of memories and symbols of family life – is why Gramp’s shoes can be found as inspiration for this season’s collection.

Written by Amie Garcia, Co-owner & CEO at Livie & Luca

Leave a comment