It all began this morning with an early morning trip to the grocery store. With my marketing stored in the trunk, I headed for home. On the way, I passed a small garage sale, with two large shelf units sitting on the lawn. My granddaughter, Alivia, will be spending her days here with me this summer, and she and her cousins worked diligently last week to set up a small art space. All that is missing is a small shelf unit. Obviously, these two large pieces were too big, but a little hope lingered that there might be a smaller one somewhere midst the jumble of items. I stopped the car and walked over. My first mistake -- there was no shelving to fit the art space; however, once there, how could I possibly resist looking around a bit. My eyes immediately fell on a unique spice rack -- tall bottles with tiny colorful vegetables and herbs as stoppers. It was lovely, and perfect, and the last thing I needed in my already crowded old kitchen, but I took it into my hands and asked the cost. One dollar, she said. Now, who could possibly pass up a sweet little find like this for only one dollar??? It sits now, waiting to be carefully washed, dried and filled with herbs and spices, and I am in love with it.
I admit it -- I have a problem. My house is filled with treasures such as this. A few weeks ago, my father-in-law gifted me with a box of several old pieces of china from a set that belonged to his grandmother. Excitedly I unwrapped each piece. I know that there is more of this pattern packed away in a box in the attic. I had taken several place settings when my in-laws sold their camp and passed around its contents.
Anyone who knows me or has read my blog regularly knows that I have a penchant for old china. Somewhere in the attic, I have a set that belonged to my grandmother; the china my mother used when I was a child is tucked away in a linen closet upstairs. My china closets are filled with old family pieces -- a Fostoria cream & sugar set from a great-aunt, tiny salt cellars which were a wedding gift to my mother from a favorite relative, a pink Depression glass bowl and cake plate from my husband's great aunt. The list goes on and on. As do the sets of china -- two bought at estate sales, one delicate old set with butter pats and ramekins from a close friend now gone from my life, and my precious Old Country Roses set which I spent years collecting bit by bit, whenever I could find a piece on sale. Oh yes -- I definitely have a problem!!
And then, a few weeks back, I began longing for a sewing machine. The one I had used through the years for sewing curtains, Halloween costumes, dresses, etc, etc. had broken down beyond repair a couple of years ago. While I was never a great seamstress, I found that I really missed having a machine. I missed the feel of the fabric as it ran through my fingers, and the gentle whir of the motor as we turned flat material into something of substance. How I wanted to sew again. But, the cost of a new machine on my limited income was out of the question. Fortunately, one of my friends told me she had purchased an older Singer model at an estate sale awhile back, that was supposedly in working condition. She said I could take it home and make sure it worked before I paid her for it. And so I did. I cleaned it and oiled it, and read the manual carefully. It is a wonderful machine -- a 1969 Singer that still works like a charm. And now, I can finally savor the pleasure of the gently whirring motor as I create again.
Last week, as I was telling my father-in-law the story of the sewing machine, he said he had an old Singer portable that I might like -- not in working condition -- but maybe I would like it. How could I refuse. We went down into his packed basement (he, too, has a house filled with beloved family heirlooms and other items with which he just can't bear to part) and found the old case resting midst his treasures. We carried it upstairs and he opened the case; I was immediately in love. This machine is a beauty. I brought it home and cleaned it up a bit -- rubbing it with olive oil to bring out the beautiful design and the scrollwork on its face. From the scrollwork design, I believe it is from the 1930's. Now it sits in a place of honor on a little table in my library nook. How I love it!! And to think, it has been sitting in its little case in the basement for years -- calling my name -- and I never knew it.
Oh yes, I do have a problem!! I can't resist beautiful old things. At a time in life when I should be downsizing, I am still collecting. As my eyes light on one of my precious little treasures, though, I feel such happiness and contentment. And, I especially love the family heirlooms -- how fortunate I feel to be safeguarding them for the generations to come who may treasure them as I do. And so, that is why this morning I absolutely could not leave that sweet little spice rack sitting alone -- it has brought me pleasure all day. I am reminded of a beautiful quote by Iris Murdoch:
"One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats."
And I guess that maybe my "problem" is also the source of much of my happiness and contentment. Hooray for small treats!!