Saturday, December 29, 2007

Treasures within Treasures

One of my original clients had a horror of garage sales and thrift stores. She often told me that the very idea of pawing through someone else's discards was abhorrent to her. I remember looking at her with pity, scorn and delight. Pity and scorn because she didn't know what she was missing, and delight because that's just one less person getting the goods that I treasure so much.

The whole point of thrifting, in my view, is the thrill of the hidden treasure. It's like hunting for Easter Eggs or digging potatoes. You are looking for something, you know it's there, and suddenly, There it IS! A delightful thingee! Your Heart Leaps! And it's only 50¢ !!!!

A few of my aunts and cousin's have this same hunter/gatherer urge coded deep within their DNA. We simply cannot pass up an opportunity to go thrifting (or junking as it used to be called), forage at the dump or find somewhere to dig up old bottles.

Some of my most prized possessions are not the new things I've acquired, but rather the thrift store treasures that I've collected over the years.

For instance, my collection of Baby Jesus Orphans.

How did they get separated from the rest of the Manger Gang? Who in the world loses a Baby Jesus? And why would anyone bother to put it on a thrift store shelf and charge 98¢ for it? How did it escape being thrown in the trash? I don't know the answer to those burning questions but I have 4 Orphan Infants that come out every Christmas and have a place of pride on my mantle piece.

Or this butter yellow indigo star quilt that I found for 5 bucks. It was wedged between a dismal polyester comforter and a decrepit, stained electric blanket.

I think about the woman who made it, day after day adding another star to the pile until she had enough to start piecing the top together. I love old quilts. Finding one in a junk store is like finding the Golden Fleece as far as I'm concerned.

Very rarely I will find something that is so delightful it is beyond price. Like this framed print of the Beatitudes. It has gold leaf and beautiful calligraphy. It was at the bottom of a pile of framed prints and it was only 75¢. When I saw it I snatched it up and looked around furtively to see if I had just taken the one item that someone else was longing for with all their heart. I couldn't believe my luck! Nobody seemed the least bit interested besides myself.

Then I turned it over and saw the back. And all the little old ladies of religious sensibilities longing for a gold leaf copy of the Beatitudes to hang in their foyer or stairwell could have attacked me at once and torn at my flesh to get their hands on it, and NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING could have pried it from my hands.

Not only was it backed with vintage Rose wallpaper that was the Apex of All that is Shabby Chic, it had a hidden treasure even more delightful than the glorious, decorative back. Something so amazing that I never hang the Beatitudes on my wall. Instead, I hang this picture backwards.

Because along the edge of the frame...in pencil...in old style handwriting...someone had written...

Exceedingly glad

And it just doesn't get any better than that, now does it?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my...I never knew that. And I was admiring the wallpaper piece, thinking how extremely lovely it was. What a special treat!!

Queen Q

PEA said...

It always amazes me what people throw out or give to thrift shops...their loss is our gain, though!! I could spend every day visiting thrift shops and finding little treasures just like the ones you found. Love the idea that you gave those baby Jesus' a new home...funny you should mention them because just last week when I was at the thrift shop near here I noticed there were 3 baby Jesus' on the shelf, all alone!! If I would have known you collected them I would have gotten them for you!

New Year is a time for celebration of love, of life, of friendship. It's the time to thank God for wonderful friends, and to bring to their lives as much magic as they bring to ours...so here's celebrating our friendship and praying that its magic continues forever. Happy New Year to you and yours dear friend! xoxo