Great Aunt Edna

I’m sure most of you have heard of her: Great Aunt Edna. She’s very famous. A lot of you probably have your own Great Aunt Edna. If not, then you’ve surely visited someone else’s Great Aunt Edna and have therefore been inside her home. There are several things about Great Aunt Edna’s home that make her so memorable (and endearing?). While I would never want to pick on Great Aunt Edna (because she surely has more wisdom than I can imagine) (or personally hope for), there is something interesting about the “Great Aunt Edna’s” residences world-wide: they’re predictable. From the house cats to the rusty tub to dusty houseplants in yarn ceiling hangers, it’s been done before. In the kitchen, copper cookware is artfully arranged on the wall. There’s a plastic table-cloth in the dining room. Too-small calendars (flipped to the right month, of course) hang in prominent locations. The bedrooms have metal bed frames and crocheted bed covers and touch lamps that were hip in the 90s. And there’s a funny smell that only young children have enough courage to mention. On the windowsill is a collection of green bottles; two of them are in the shape of maple leaves, one smaller than the other. Probably from a bus tour to the New England states in 1983.

Here’s a little photo diary depicting “Great Aunt Edna”:

1. The Kitchen. Notice the mini-grill holding the ketchup and mustard. Kitsch.

2. “Great Aunt Edna” homes regularly have tacky conversation pieces. This particular little gem has hidden magnets in the spinner and the back of the plaque so that the spinner (normally) only stops on “Go Hunting.” Hilarious, right?

3. Right next to that tub is this bathroom joke book “for people on the go”… (?)

4. One of the best things about Great Aunt Edna’s is some of the amazing furniture pieces that seem to materialize straight out of the 50s. This particular chair I’ve entitled “the Man Chair.” By opening the seat, one discovers a place to store one’s shoes. A shirt and pair of pants can neatly be stored on the back, and the top is reserved for spare change and a billfold. Clearly this chair does not disappoint. (Unless you’re a girl.) Go to your local Sear’s store to make your special Father’s Day purchase today.

5. Were we talking about plant hangers?

6. Great Aunt Edna might even serve you some soup… curiously yellow soup. (Hotel Alpina, Murren, Switzerland)

7. Deceased vermin in Great Aunt Edna’s basement window wells.

8. Great Aunt Edna herself! (Woman, Luxembourg)

9. Or is this Great Aunt Edna?

10. The hallway. (forgivable, because it’s 400 years old, and in France)

11. My sister, Abigail, wondering how she got conned into staying at Great Aunt Edna’s house on yet another choir tour. Here the pictures are hung too high. And there are funny window clings. And a stuf-fed animal.

12. The most recent addition to the photo diary: legit antique earbuds (circa 1970s) found in an old drawer. We’re assuming that’s Uncle Humphrey’s ear wax.

So there you have Great Aunt Edna. She’s so predictable. Now that we’ve explored and labeled her domain, we must ask the question: is she inspiring today’s designers? Take a look and see!

13. The “Great Aunt Edna” inspired sitting room.

14. Would she have worn these shoes? Cuz I totally just bought them.

15. Notecards, [Series No. 4]. Evoke a mid-century minimalism, complemented by vintage envelopes reminiscent of Great Aunt Edna’s sheets. Ironically, the black-and-white Florida memory cards depict various locations in Sarasota.

Now you tell me: what is YOUR favorite Great Aunt Edna memory?

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2 thoughts on “Great Aunt Edna”

  1. haha yes! this is the post I have been waiting for all my life!! Loved it.
    All of my Great Aunt Edna moments were pretty much summed up in your post.

    The onyl specific GEA (clever abbreviation, right?) moment that I can remember right now is not from a house that smells like moth balls, nor is it from an wrinkled lady wearing a blouse that resembles the print from her couch. No, it is from a moment on a bus with you, spent drawing a picture and writing a poem all in the honor of Great Aunt Edna.

  2. Oh, Esther, I have one to add.

    16. Great Aunt Edna always carefully covers her upholstered furniture in towels or ugly double-knit fabrics. She wouldn’t want to get that furniture ruined; they paid good money for it, and they want to preserve it as long as possible. Never mind the fact that you never see the upholstered fabric they so carefully chose. But maybe that’s a good thing; generally it’s large tacky orange roses or perhaps and horrible tan hounds’ tooth.

    And those shoes. Slay me. Only you, Esther. Only you.

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