Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Vase

A few weeks ago I took on the daunting task of organizing my jewelry.  I wouldn't say I have a lot, but it was tossed hither and thither, making many pieces neglected over time.  For a few hours I convinced myself that I needed a new jewelry box, so I went on a hunt.

Unsuccessful after going to 5 stores, I made one last-ditch effort and went in a neighborhood estate sale. 

Did I find a jewelry box?  No.  But I did find something else. An odd connection to people I never knew.

This was a house I had never paid attention to before.  The sale was being run by an outside company.  There were no pictures of the deceased person or people who lived there.  Still, I found myself intrigued as I got to know these nameless people while walking from room to room.

I learned that someone who lived there loved to knit.  They loved Japan and Japanese art.  They liked cats.  They liked to garden.  They liked working with their hands out in the workshop.  They liked Corningware.  They liked owning several sets of dishes.  They liked vintage kitchenware...or maybe originals from their generation. They liked crystal.

Smaller items were laid out on tables, but the rooms still had some furniture, almost like the owners were simply away on vacation.

There is a certain sadness that a fully lived life is temporally reduced to the things a person leaves behind, but there is also the hope that buyers appreciate what they find at sales like these and bring them to life in a new way. Things are just things, of course, but in this particular house I sensed discretion and thought as I looked at each decorative piece.

As I prepared to leave I felt a kinship to these anonymous people. Their presence was strong and I felt I wanted something to remember them. 

On a table by the front door was this lovely lead crystal, handmade vase:

It is only 8 inches tall and not something I needed, but I bought it. It spent a few days in the kitchen and now greets you on the mahogany secretary in our dining room. Most items I bought for my CA house were from estate sales, so this vase is right at home.

Like the other pieces, I think about its story and history, where it came from and why.  And while it is one of hundreds of items from those people that is now in a different home, it beings me joy to know that the personal atmosphere they created in their house has found a little space in ours.

No comments: