Love At First Sight...and it's lasted more than 30 years...

Over thirty years ago, I stepped out of the familiar world of being a homemaker and a mommy, and went to school and then to work.  I left behind the things I loved best in order to help our family financially, thinking I could save the failing marriage I was in.  I didn't want to leave being a homemaker, but it was because I did that I walked into a dusty dark antiques shop one afternoon and fell head over heels in love with this ridiculously overly made up lady despite her squat carved bun feet... I knew she was a lady immediately because this was no ordinary straightforward utilitarian piece of furniture.

So beautiful!  So brave and undefeated even though she had dings, and  missing or buckling veneers and chips and knicks.  Her audacious beauty was breathtakingly exotic.  Mahogany, oak, fruit-wood, burl wood,  inlay, parquet,  carvings,beveled and etched mirrors, bamboo and hand carved trim of various types...Well she was obviously overdressed for any party, much less a poor home, but she was so beautiful I forgave her overdress and thought her instead to be refreshingly charming.  I'd have been all decked out too if I'd been as beautiful as she must surely have been in her youth and as lovely as she was still....



I stood and gazed at her and looked at her and gawked at the huge price tag on her.  I opened her drawers and peeked inside, taking a bit of advantage of her in her dusty unkempt state.  The divided top drawer had a small valet tray where one might take off rings and tie pins and hair pins at night and keep them safe. And the second drawer had a mystery patch of thick leather tacked in place.  The second and third drawers came out together, a habit they've kept up all these years...

So I did something rather audacious myself, having been smitten right there in that cold dark train warehouse turned antique shop...I begged the owner to consider letting me buy her on layaway.  I could only pay $15 a pay period...More than ten long months it took to pay off the layaway but every single time I walked through the doors of the place she glowed with pleasure over the SOLD sign stuck to her mirror.  It was a huge amount of money to me, $375...but I never once regretted it.

I finally got to bring her home...That's when I discovered that she was anything but frail.  No sirree, this lady was so well endowed with wood and carvings and such that even without the mirror and the drawers it took two straining, groaning men to move her into the truck so I could take her home.  No wonder she had those squat bun feet.  She needed them to brace herself up with.


 She deserves beautiful and lovely things atop her I think.  Like the old carved candy box I picked up for a song, and the celluloid powder dish and nail buffer...

 And my family photos...because I trust her to love whom I love...


 We've been through a lot together this lady and I.  She watched as my life crumbled about me and I sobbed more days than not.  She stood stoically by and heard more than she ought and saw the degradation I put myself through and she watched me leave the house one afternoon and not return...I am sure she thought I'd abandoned her for good.  But we'd been through far too much together for me to let her go.  When I finally settled into my new home six months later, she was the first piece loaded onto the moving truck.  She lost another furbelow or two during that move but we were together again.

 And in my new life, she watched as I struggled alone, heard me cry more than a few times more with physical pain and lonliness as I picked up the pieces and moved on, fighting my way back to something resembling living.  She watched me become stoic, like her, in the face of tough times.  And then she watched over the blooming of a new love, saw the struggle of pulling together two sets of children into one family...


When we bought this home, and it was time to move, John asked, "Are you sure that you must have this dresser?  It's heavy, it's fragile..."  And I told him, "I can leave behind most everything I own, but she comes with me.  We've been through some tough times together.  I'd like to go through some good ones with her, too."  She lost another piece or two on that move, but she held up with dignity and never lost that gracious stance that only a true beauty can take as time moves relentlessly on.  She knows that real beauty is in the eyes of the one who loves you truly and deeply despite your flaws...


 She's a reticent soul.  I don't know a thing about where she came from nor who she used to know.  I wonder sometimes as I look at her and her fancy dress about her other mistress and whether she had a fine and fancy house deserving of this fine and fancy piece.  I wonder if there were other pieces to match or if she was the single gloriously beautiful one and all others were plain...I wonder who used to smooth polish over her and who used to gaze into her lovely mirrors and whose pictures used to sit upon her fine and lovely chest.  I wonder who used to lovingly iron and smooth the dresser scarf on top...

But like all beautiful women, she says nothing, merely looks lovely...

No comments:

This Week In My Home: A New Season

This week in my home... ...I have just hung out a load of clothes in the breezy autumn afternoon and almost too warm sun.  It's lat...