From the biggest branch to the smallest leaf
Those of you who are my friends on Facebook will know about my strange Ebay discovery a while back- an old postcard sent to my grandparents in 1936 from a lady called Rose. I was freaked out and excited at the same time to find it – how on earth did it end up for sale on a international marketplace and also how did I manage to discover it amongst the (actual stat) one billion things on Ebay?
It’s got me thinking about family and who I am. Why do I love vintage and nostalgia so much? The fact I was searching for the postcard in the first place proves I am 1000% my Grandad’s Granddaughter. He was an expert treasure hunter (or toot collector as it’s known by some people, like my Mum).
He loved finding things on the street, going to jumble sales and discovering bargains in junk shops. Grandad made up for lack of monetary riches with a wealth of generosity. He always put up a Christmas tree with little presents hanging for the kids who lived on the road where members of my family lived in Leytonstone. The tree was filled with little bits, some second hand, some from the bargain shop, but everyone got a gift. On this tree there were always special presents for my cousin Surindar, my little sister Amber and myself to be given first, things he had singled out for his girls, special finds. I still have a very ornate precious vintage dressing table set he gifted from a junk shop, a 1940s rubber doll who came from a jumble sale called Pat, she was one of my favourites growing up despite being sooooo old fashioned and also a tin of beads he had collected over time from the streets of East London. That was my first business venture, making bracelets from those beads, I still have loads of them left, too special to sell. Nothing was worth much money or had cost a lot, he didn’t have a lot, but it’s all worth a million dollars compared to the contrasting, overly extravagant gifts we exchange these days.
When he died, we found in the box room of my Grandparents small terrace house, boxes of presents waiting for people. It didn’t need to be a special occasion, he was just excited to make people happy any day of the year. He was a lovely, kind, warm and generous man.
I’m not crediting myself with having inherited any of these noble qualities from him but the treasure hunter gene is one I most definitely have. I wonder if he would have liked a shop of his own, nevertheless there is a lot of him is in my wee shop. If he was still alive I think he would have enjoyed helping me find the stuff I sell, it’s kind of a joint business even if he’s not here anymore, his impact is so strong. My love of vintage, nostalgia and hatred of our wasteful culture has definitely come directly from his influence. I have so much sentiment in me and that’s all come from him.
My store recently has had some lovely stories of precious items reunited with the person they are meant to be with. I sent a stuffed monkey to a lady in California who had lost all her worldly possessions in the wildfires. The start of her rebuilding her life was when she found a replacement of her precious favourite toy in my shop. Many people buy my vintage ornaments and trinkets because they remember them from their childhood, many are also bought as replacements for broken sentimental treasures. I thank all of my customers who take the time to write to me these stories of where the items I sell are ending up and how much they mean to the people they are gifted to. I love the fact that I play a part in helping something previously unloved on it’s journey to the right person, talking of which let’s get back to the postcards that clearly belong with me…
The Ebay listing never showed the front’s of the cards, there was just a picture of the back , they were being sold for genealogy purposes not sentimental. I was so excited for them to arrive. The front would clear up maybe who Rose was and why she was writing to my Grandparents. So now I can reveal….. the postcards fronts…..
It’s amazing to have them back in my possession, back where they belong. Another treasure discovered, but for once these ones belong with me.