Since being sold in the 1990s, the family farmhouse has changed hands twice and continues to be renovated. My German relatives originally came to NY in 1904 to start a farm and family. This last week I was able to go back to visit with my Yaya (grandmother) and boyfriend. All the memories of the interior were vivid but there was no longer that physical reminder. Outside, the barns still stood but were certainly in a further state of collapse and seemed so much smaller compared to my memories.
Over a diner breakfast, Yaya reminisced and mentioned that her favorite rooms in the house were her bedroom and the kitchen. As she talked about why, she consistently got hung up on the feeling of the quilt, lighting, the kitchen mat she stood on while doing dishes, and the grooves in the wallpaper. She also revisited some family traits – “The garage is made from wood from the toilet (outhouse)! They just couldn’t throw out anything!”
Looking back, all of my favorite memories of old rooms stem from the textures that created the feel of a room. I love the wood ceiling on the screened in porch where I live now, I remember when we had Astroturf for awhile in a part of our play room as kids and how that felt below my feet, I love staying under layers of soft, smooth, heavy blankets when traveling at hotels.
Textures give us both that tactile and visual input that helps us make sense of our environment. By having different textures, we are able to create connections and sometimes those neuronal connections so that a rush of memories surges with just one touch. Stepping on a squishy yoga mat changes breathing patterns, a soft blanket brings comfort, green grass on our feet reminds us to be carefree.
What textures do you seek most within your environment?
How do these textures then affect your everyday life?