Nana’s Closet

 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.

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

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