Basically, there are two kinds of people in the world: the kind who move into a house, and have everything put away and perfect five minutes later (my sister), and the rest of us.
We moved a year and a half ago, and we still haven’t hung all our art, if you want to call it that. Instead, our decor is more of a work in progress, but there’s one thing we always put up right away wherever we are, and that’s my husband’s oar from Cambridge.
Don’t even ask about getting that thing over from England, suffice it to say it’s here now, and it’s large. We’ve lived in three houses together so far, and the first thing we always ask each other when we move is, “Where should the oar go?”
Right now, it’s in the dining area. In the old house, it was in the living room. It’s a bitch to hang, takes forever to get straight, and is even more of a pain to move around, but for some reason, as soon as it’s up, it makes the place home.
It’s funny how you know you’re really married when the other person’s stuff becomes yours, too. I mean, I didn’t row at Cambridge or anything, but I’ve developed all this nostalgia around the oar, and I feel a perverse pride whenever anyone comes into our home and correctly identifies it.
I guess I like the oar so much because it reminds me of my husband, and why I married him in the first place, and of the history we’re building together. The stories of the oar–getting it here, the places it’s hung–are the stories of our marriage so far, and though we’re kind of in a hairy bit of the river right now what with three kids and two, crazy careers, it’s nice to know we’ve got something to steer with if we need it.
And all I have to do is look up on the wall to find it.