Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gifts from the Dead

This ceramic tea set is compliments of Florence, who spent her final years in the care of two friends of ours -- Mike and Diane -- a few blocks south of us. Florence died in her home last month in the company of her hospice nurse.

We never actually met Florence, but we'd heard all the stories, especially her endless flirtations with Mike and objections to his wife Diane, whom Florence felt was interfering with their love.

Florence had no immediate family, and the one identified relative -- a niece -- has expressed little interest in Florence's spartan 'estate.' So Mike and Diane have been working to sift through years of accumulated detritus, separating trash from treasure, trying to find homes for things that may have some remaining utility.

So it is that we ended up stewards of this midcentury, mint-condition tea set. It now joins a few other odds and ends -- cream pitchers, a gravy boat, and an old pharmacy counter -- that have come to our house from those who have moved on or passed on. We're happy to carry on these legacies. We'll be responsible to their memories.

We went into Florence's house for the first time a couple weeks back. It smelled of must and urine. Silk unmentionables hung next to house dresses in her closet. Entire walls in the living and dining rooms were covered with mirrored squares (some had come loose from the wall), which must have made Florence feel elegant. I'm not sure how a place can feel dingy and hallowed at exactly the same time, but that's the only way to describe it.

1 comment:

LazyMF said...

Very cool tea set.