There is no way I can start this journey without the recognition of my biggest inspirations. My grandmother whom we all affectionately called, Big Mama, and my mother are my biggest daily inspirations. My Big Mama was a strong, faith-filled woman who loved family, cooking, baking, and Interior Design. As a matter of fact, it was her love of family that motivated her to want them to enjoy a clean, comfortable and beautiful home. She expressed her style through her love for warm vintage interiors. It’s that same love that motivates my mother to pursue her love of writing, baking, interiors, and sewing. Their creativity boldly expresses their style and their hearts.
The interior of one’s home tells a story that can inspire you, relax you, or make you wonder the journey of one’s life. When you look at this furniture in the photo, what do you see in its past? ….
This furniture was owned by the Late Helen (Lewis) Streety, my Big Mama who was raised in Ridgeville, Alabama (but I remember her saying Forest Home, AL). She later worked as a maid while putting herself through Alabama State University and received her teacher’s certificate. She returned to Ridgeville and taught elementary school down on the ridge and after some time, she would return to Montgomery where at the age of 23, she met and married my grandfather, Ned Streety (known by all as Big Papa) and made their home in Montgomery, Alabama... Ahem... ROLLTIDE!!!...
Moving on… 🙂
She was a stay-at-home mother (known as homemakers in those days) of 3 boys and 2 girls, but raised many neighborhood children. As a young girl working as a maid for Mrs. Brock (whose family checked on her until her death) she always admired the beautiful homes and all of the old victorian furniture they contained. There was never a day she didn't think about having that furniture in the formal living room of her own home. Yes, that living room where no one was allowed to go except for a family portrait... yes, yes... THAT formal living room that may have been covered in plastic, with its whitest, fluffiest, never been touched, perfectly vacuumed carpet. She called the furniture her "Classy furniture".
After my Big Papa passed, she sold her house and their belongings were divided amongst her children. The beautiful victorian furniture was passed on to my mother. When my husband Michael and I bought our first home, my mother gifted the furniture to us. A 85" floral print sofa, the mustard yellow love seat, two winged-back chairs to match all trimmed in wood, a marble top coffee table with two end tables to match, brass lamps and mirror. This was my "Big Mamas' furniture".
This strong African American woman, blessed with the gift of loving others, opened her home up to protestors during the Civil Rights Movement to give them a safe place to rest and eat a nourishing meal from the trials of the day as they marched through her neighborhood to downtown Montgomery. As a two time breast cancer survivor and stroke survivor, she lived 95 beautiful years. She loved sharing her home with this beautiful furniture for family, friends, and neighbors to enjoy. My heart rest easy because before she passed, she was able to see her furniture in my home. She said to me, "Baby, it is beautiful, you have your Big Mama's Taste!”CLLLLAAAASSSSYYYY" 😂😂😂. Her voice and those words I will never forget.
Eight years ago, April 7, 2009, My Big papa passed, I sure do miss him too. I can hear his raspy voice as he creeps down the hall, mason jar in hand, for a glass of ICE water!!! Seven years later, on April 7, 2016, Big Mama passed to be with the love of her life. Today, I start a new journey, in honor of Big Mama, I am so happy to share xoErin.com. There is so much I can not wait to share!
Last thought... as my mother and grandmothers are my biggest inspiration. I know I was probably inspired by you too! In one way or another, we are all inspired by this universe. Maybe inspiration came yesterday, or a couple weeks, months, or years ago… maybe you will inspire me or someone tomorrow, I hope so!