Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wednesday 24 January, 2007

30° F. Windy, snowing.

Gym day/strength training.

The world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter; and in these, the spirit blooms timidly, and struggles to the light amid the thorns.
George Santayana


A couple of posts ago, I mentioned going to the post office and said that in a previous life it had been a general store run by my grand father. I also mentioned that he sold it to an older brother, who along with his wife had operated it as a dish wares store. The photo below shows a child"s play dish set made of genuine porcelain which came from that store.

In the fall of 1975 we moved into the house we currently live in. Neither my wife nor I were from this village, but my father had been born here and lived here until he was 16 years old. If you follow small town logic, even though he never lived here after he moved away, he was still considered a native son. Because my father was a native son, I was treated, immediately upon arrival, as though I too had been a native.

Not long after we moved in, dad came for a visit. He lived 10 miles away in the city where I was born and raised. He came often to visit and to impart to me some history and lore from his growing up years. On this particular evening we were sitting on the stoop enjoying the setting sun, swatting mosquitoes, feeling oppressed by the stifling humidity, and just generally absorbing the ambiance of the neighborhood. While we were chatting, a middle aged woman happened by and stopped to chat. She introduced herself and told us that she and her husband had recently moved into the house just across and down the street and behind the church from our place. I told her who I was and that we had just moved in , which she new already, and introduced my dad to her. She asked if dad in fact was the REL she remembered from her youth growing up here in the village. She was a few years younger than dad but remembered his family. She too had grown up, married and moved away . Her husband, being a reporter for the NY Times, caused them to move far and wide frequently during his career. Now retired, they had moved back to her childhood home, where her 80+ year old mother still lived.

A few weeks later this woman appeared at our door with the above pictured china pieces. She said that when she was growing up she and her family live in the house directly across from, as it turned out, my great uncle's store. This would be the uncle who'd bought the store from my grandfather and turned it into a china shop. Never having any children of thier own, my uncle and his wife thought of the village children as there kids. My neighbor told of how one Christmas when she was 10 or 11 years old, the lady of the shop gave to her a child's china dish set. These pieces were all that was left and she wanted us to have them since they had originally come from my uncle's store.

A little piece of small town behavior that I love so much.


Anonymous Paris Parfait said...

What absolute treasures - the china and the story/memory!

7:18 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth said...

I was never a "girlie girl," Rel, but I had this thing for tableware sets made for kids. This one is absolutely lovely, and it's especially precious because it's made of porcelain. Thanks for a great story.

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... only experiences such generosity and care in small towns. A wonderful story, Rel. Thanks for sharing it with us. :)

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me so much of small town life. Isn't it lovely when you get something tangible from the past to hold, touch, treasure? (I hope this comment takes, as I think some of my comments haven't been getting through.)

2:19 AM  
Blogger Rowan said...

What a lovely story and the china is so pretty. More family history with a tangible link to the past, I so enjoy reading this kind of thing. We moved into our house in Fall 1976 - we must be quite rare birds these days to have lived in one house for so long. I have no family connections here though, my roots are firmly in Cheshire.

2:50 AM  
Blogger Catch said...

How sweet of her to bring the china to you! Small town life is the best isnt it? I dont feel like I am missing a thing living in a small town. I love it. I love walking into the local store and talking to everyone.

2:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this very much.

5:47 AM  
Blogger PEA said...

What a heart warming story Rel and that little tea set is just wonderful! She was so kind to give it to you because of it's origins...a true treasure!!

1:25 PM  
Blogger M said...

Yep. I totally understand small town logic. My dad is from a small town and my mom is from a medium town with a small town attitude.

My mom's family moved to her home town in the 1950's and, in some ways, are still considered newcomers.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

What a lovely story. The full circle and seeing it take place!

4:10 AM  
Blogger DellaB said...

a wonderful story, Rel, thank you for sharing so well.

6:04 PM  

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