Why is it that we always seem to have such nostalgia for the things we grew up with? There is something strangely comforting and reassuring about the stuff our mothers had around the house when we were kids and we often remember them with fondness. I think it’s because they take us back to a time when we felt warm, safe and protected. Sadly many of the knick knacks that I remember nostalgically from my childhood were either sold at a garage sale or donated to the Salvation Army shortly before my mom moved to Germany in the 80’s. That’s why I’m always thrilled whenever I come across one of these childhood treasures and I snatch them up every time I can. The milk bottle in the picture was obtained at our local dairy recently when they unexpectedly produced several thousand of them once more to give away as gifts in honor of their 60th anniversary. They remind me of those old Carnation milk bottles that my grandma used to have delivered to her door back in the day when milk tasted so good. Another nostalgic purchase was a little ribbed ironstone bowl. It’s twin used to sit on a shelf atop my mom’s closet where it held dozens of antique silver coins from my mom’s old 1880’s silver dollar and 50 cent piece collection. Today they would have been worth a fortune. Lamentably, during the move to Germany the bowl and all of it’s contents were lost, never to be seen again. I often wondered where she had bought that little white ribbed bowl. Unfortunately my mom never remembers where she got anything so there’s no way to know. One day not too long ago, just for the heck of it I typed in the Ebay search “white ribbed bowl”. And there it was! An identical bowl! There was only one on all of Ebay. It’s as if it had been waiting for me to buy it. And of course I did. Today instead of old silver dollars it holds old silver spoons atop a chest of drawers in my sitting room.
On a different occasion while browsing Ebay, I came across a set of Currier and Ives fruit bowls from the 60’s. That familiar wave of nostalgia hit me when I saw them and I remembered that my mom used to have several of these cute little blue and white bowls in the kitchen when I was a kid. The sight of them must have really stirred my memory because I suddenly recalled that my mom even had one of these little bowls set aside to mix her hair dye in. That was her special dye bowl. The Ebay auction price was very reasonable, $8.99 for seven of them. So I bought them. Now they occupy a special place in my kitchen cupboard.
On another occasion, I was delighted to find a vintage Mexican plaster crucifix identical to one that hung on the wall over my bed throughout my entire childhood. I’ve always felt fortunate that this very heavy crucifix didn’t fall on my head during the Sylmar earthquake of 1971. Surely it must have been miraculous. So miraculous that it turned up on Ebay more than 30 years later. Ok, admittedly I can’t be positive it’s my old crucifix, but it sure is identical. The seller told me that he had bought it at his local (California!) Salvation Army right around the time that my mom had donated my crucifix. What are the odds? And somehow it’s comforting to think it’s the same one, even if it’s not. You can read about how I restored it here: Plaster Crucifix Repair
Old Christmas ornaments and accessories also turn up on Ebay from time to time and I will occasionally come across items that I remember from Christmases past. I think the mother of all childhood Christmas memories has to be the aluminum tree. Is there anything that says vintage like an old aluminum Christmas tree? My grandmother had one. A big 6 footer with pom-pom tipped branches and a color wheel that turned the tree into a display of ever changing colors. It was magical. They were so chic back in the day. Nobody thought they were tacky. Apparently these were the first ever artificial Christmas trees on the market. Today they sell on Ebay for hundreds of dollars! The prices are crazy, considering that they used to cost about a quarter at garage sales just a few years ago. I guess the reason that there’s a huge demand for these Christmas trees now is because, like me, people have a longing for these reminders of their childhood. I recently found a bargain on Ebay after searching and waiting patiently for weeks. I scored a 4 ft. aluminum tree, complete with a vintage tree turner AND a perfectly functioning color wheel for only $49 dollars including shipping. I was in aluminum heaven! I was so happy with my 4 ft. tree that I bought a second one. A 6 footer that is still in it’s box waiting patiently to be restored back to it’s former glory.
No aluminum tree is complete without a 1960’s rotating color wheel! These trees were not allowed to have lights strung on them because of a possible short circuit hazard. (they are metal trees after all) so rotating color wheels were set next to the foot of the tree and the aluminum needles reflected all the colors of the continually changing lights.
The trees would go from red, to blue, to green to yellow.
I haven’t been this excited about Christmas in a long time! I’m thinking of decorating the small tree with pale pink and fuchsia balls and the large tree will have light blue and kiwi green colored balls. One of the definite advantages of the aluminum tree is that since they don’t have lights on them, you don’t have to stress over burned out strings of lights, you know…the ones that burn out AFTER you’ve spent hours weaving them into your tree.
Joining Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home