Monday, April 28, 2014

Pieces of the Story

Christmas, some years back:

“I hope you like it,” my sister said, “even though it’s probably just a box of crap”.


Practically every time I visit my husband’s grandmother:

“Take it, honey.  It’s just crap nobody wants.”



I boldly confess that I will, indeed, take all of your crap, but only if the crap in question is a box of vintage costume jewelry.  That’s what I received in the above scenarios, and that’s what I like – old accessories with a story to them.  Granted, I don’t know the story behind every piece I’ve acquired over the years.  Much of my collection comes from garage sales, thrift stores, and a wonderful clothing swap party that my friend Marian hosts from time to time ( 

This past weekend’s swap party proved highly successful for me.  Not only did I score enough clothing to keep me out of the stores this summer, I met a wonderful woman named Monica who specializes in my favorite pastime.

Monica’s jewelry was not up for swapping, however.  She sells it on behalf of others.  Her clientele includes folks who’ve lost Grandma and would like for Grandma’s jewelry to go to a good home.  They also include people who are simply downsizing their jewelry boxes.  Old pieces.  Interesting pieces.  Pieces full of personality.  Pieces you just don’t find anymore.

I had my eye on this:


And on this:


Knowing that old costume accessories can sell for a pretty penny, I hesitantly asked her price.  I almost fell over –in a good way- when she told me.

“I’m not really looking to make money here.  I just want to find people who’ll be good to these items.  I merely need a little to cover gas to these sorts of events and such.”

I handed her the cash, and as she wrapped them lovingly and placed them in a bag, she informed me that the necklace and the bracelet were owned by the same woman.  “Her name was Laura,” Monica said, “would you like to know more about her?”

“Indeed I would!” I proclaimed as I sat down at her table.

“I actually knew Laura quite well.  She passed away a couple of months ago, and I miss her.  She was like a grandmother to me.”

“How so?”  I asked.

“We used to do tequila shots together.”

Now, I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I never did tequila shots with either of my grandmothers.  Nonetheless, Laura sounded like my kind of gal.  In addition to her affinity for tequila, Laura was also a school teacher (I was, too, and totally get her need to imbibe from time to time), she tended to favor books over people on occassion (me, too), and knew how to play the ukulele.

“You’re kidding!”  I cried, “I’m learning to play the ukulele!”

“I think Laura had a hand in you finding her things,” smiled Monica.

I agreed and took my leave of her, Laura’s jewelry secured in my purse. 

That evening, as I put the pieces away in my jewelry box, I took a good look at what I’ve got.  Someday, when I’m too old to fasten a necklace or simply too worn out to care, I’m going to start passing this stuff along.  Many of those on the receiving end may view it as crap, but hopefully others will fancy it, particularly if they know the story that will go along with it.