A trip to Wellesley’s Recycling & Disposal Facility isn’t complete without a stop at the Give and Take area. I do my share of poking around there, and it’s always fun to unearth a Wellesley-related item. Here’s the latest score: A wooden replica of our own Town Hall, a keepsake item crafted circa 1996 by The Cat’s Meow, a Wooster, Ohio-based company. To today’s curated tastes, it may look like just so much clutter, but back in the day, these 6″ x 6″ tchotkes were one of many tools used to make a house feel like a home, a way to tell guests a little bit about you and your family and what you held dear.
You may remember the unfortunate country decorating trends of that time, when perfectly reasonable suburbanites snapped up goose-motifed everything and longed for the simplicity of sturdy, painted wooden historical anything. If it was color-themed dusty rose and blue, so much the better. Now that I’ve jogged your memory, you likely recall seeing these sturdy objects lined up by theme over family room doorways or neatly arranged on special shelving designed to display them. The general idea was to collect them by area of interest (bible stories, nursery rhymes, international sites, or custom-designed).
Just listen to me. Who am I to throw decorating stones when distressed furniture and bird motifs, both once so lauded and now so reviled by home decor gurus, can be found scattered throughout my house? I’ve even heard whispers that my prized stainless steel appliances are on a fast track to comparison with the harvest gold and avocado green of my childhood and early post-college rentals in Brighton.
So in contrition for disparaging pretty collectibles that mean no harm, I will note that on the back of the Hunnewell Town Hall replica I picked up it says, “A gift from the Hunnewell Family in 1886, the Town Hall symbolizes a community famous for its educational institutions and residential setting.” I’d say the good crafters of The Cat’s Meow pretty much have Wellesley pegged. Tacky decorating mistake from a misguided time or cool retro collectible — you be the judge. And keep an eye out for it at the Give and Take area. So as not to be accused of hogging all the good stuff, I will be returning the Town Hall soon.
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