Yes, I was a child of the late 80's/early 90's but my parents had characteristics of 'old world' heritage. My mother and father came from nothing - their childhoods were spent sans electricity or modern day technology - dictatorship in Portugal during their upbringing. They had simple lives - relied on family as a core, valued tradition and had traditional roles. Their mothers would manage the household and the children, while their father would take care and provide for the family. My father joined the army as a young man - I have a black and white photograph of him in army fatigues complete with aviator glasses ( my father was somewhat 'cool' he had Raybans). After returning from tours, he went back to Portugal married my mother - penny less. And this part makes me incredibly sad - they couldn't afford a single photograph of their wedding while in Portugal. I've always wondered what it would have looked like, what they wore, who was there and what they looked like then. This is an exceptional reason for couples of this day and age to make an album - not only a disk (look what happened to floppy drives… say what?).
My father's family was already in Canada, and my mother's brother was in Toronto - they both visited in the past, but settled on moving to the west coast. Another island to be specific (really, left warm Atlantic, for Pacific?). But I thank them, they gave us such opportunity by being fearless and starting from scratch. My father had apprenticed as a framer and delve right into construction. After years under his belt he started his own company (runs in the family) and began being a contractor. Which leads me to my childhood home. The Brick Home on Boulderwood, I never fully appreciated.
My mother's cover story could have been that she was raised in a stately home who entertained regals and political leaders. Not only could she imagine up amazing meals, but my father and mother entertained weekly. The house was situated on a hilltop, suburb where finely manicured lawns and gardens were trophies of the area. It was on a corner lot (no, not acreage, and not an estate) but it was brick faced and I loved it. Through the double front doors were two colonial pillars on either side of the entry giving sight to the open second story entry. Wood floors shined under the protectant glaze; with a formal dining room to the right, and the formal parlour to the left, and my father's office door tucked near the front entry. The dining room is really where this story begins. With two double glass doors with birds of paradise flowers etched into them (that was the thing in the 90's) it gave way to the beautiful dining room furniture my parents slowly acquired (and still have) with ornate designs, a china cabinet, and there once was a bar trolly off to the corner that I absolutely loved as a child. I would always play 'hostess' with it to my mothers dismay. In the china cabinet crystal glasses shined from the sun as it shone through the bay window. These were only used when entertaining guests, special events and holidays (they had to be washed by hand).
We weren't rich, but my parents came from nothing and had aspired for fine details and keep sakes. As my mother reminds me constantly "this will all be for you".
Every week growing up I remember my parents friends would come over and one of the many elaborate table cloths would be dawned on the long table, matching dishes placed in the perfect spot, the best cutlery and matching napkins under each place setting. My favourite cutlery my mother has is gold plated, I used these in the latest feature that was on Wedluxe - Glitter and Gold. Every meal was fantastic, and I always looked forward to tea after the meal with desert. My mother was born to be a hostess. I never fully appreciated all of it, until recently. We would play cards for hours, father would bring out the best brandy or Grand Marnier that would be sipped in the small crystal glasses, accompanied by some sort of amazing cake my mother decided to make that day. Their friends would always dress up for the occasion between dress clothes, Sunday bests and mother would always encourage me to wear a dress (at the time I hated dresses). My siblings always tried to get out of the weekly dinners, being boys and older they would find their way out of it, except on holidays.
But every holiday I always looked forward to the dining room dinners and company. Between choosing between my mother's many sets of dishes, the table cloth colours that I often got to choose and helping set it all up alongside with my mother. The cooking didn't much interest me but I loved putting pretty things together, or picking the flowers that would be on the table, candles and or place settings. I didn't mind being the only child amongst the adults, and would often look forward to being apart of the card games and enjoying the whole event. The card games I can no longer remember, but I can recall the moments with the people (okay and some decor).
Which leads me to my announcement - my childhood obviously has played a role in sending me down this avenue of photography but also inspiration the dinning room as been an inspiration for editorials I have worked on in the past . I will be launching Dragonflight Stationary and Design this summer officially. Elegant stationary for weddings and events to add a little special something to your event. To bring the formal elegance to the wedding day. There is nothing like receiving an envelope in the mail containing a special invitation or hand written letter. Gatsby reminded me of the many meals my family has shared together in the dining room and the beauty of connection over a meal which is very similar to a wedding day. Stationary can be so elegant and add to the feel of any event along side your decor at a wedding. But as I mention all this, it doesn't matter about all the details - a wedding day is about your marriage. A room can be beautiful but no good at all if it doesn't have loving people, supportive friends and family to fill it with. The dining room we celebrated dinners in when I was a child was beautiful because of the memories made in it, with the people.