I'm getting ready to list a Norwegian wool cape on Etsy--a cape that belonged to my mother.
I've sold a lot of her things since I opened my Etsy shop--mostly jewelry, which she was especially fond of and collected at church sales and yard sales; some of it Dad gave her, too, for birthdays or Christmas. I've sold even her vintage thread on wooden spools (she was a great seamstress) to another Etsy seller who lives in Indonesia.
I've blogged about that transaction and the ensuing friendship I struck up with Henny Augustien here and here.
I even sold, after much thought and soul-searching, the mink jacket Dad bought for Mom after they had struggled through to his MD degree and finally set up his own successful practice ~ I remember how they both cried when she opened the package at Christmas many, many years ago:
This went to an young American woman living in Paris, and I had to send it to her parents' home in Connecticut, as the French customs would have confiscated it. When I see this picture I still see Mom wearing the jacket out to a fancy event at their country club. My son-in-law wears my Dad's beige coat, so that's not going into the shop, but I know I'll never wear a mink jacket anywhere, given my life style here in the mountains of New Hampshire--even if my playwright/film producer husband won an Academy Award some day. It's just not my style, nor my daughter's. Maybe when they're grown, one of my grandaughters would want it some day, but it's too late for that now, it's off to a new life far away.
Today I've taken pictures of that Norwegian wool cape I mentioned. Mom bought it on a trip to Norway with Dad many years ago.
I've kept it, ever since she passed away in 2007 at the age of 85, thinking that maybe sometime I'd wear it. Like my mother, I'm 100% Norwegian and love all my Norwegian sweaters and all the Norwegian rosemaling pieces that my Dad made. I've never been to Norway, although I hope to go one day. But, in truth, I finally realized that I'll never wear this cape. It just isn't me. It's Mom. This picture, too, gives me pause as I write these words, because I can see her in it, going out to a bridge club or, again, out with Dad somewhere--or even to the store.
Which she was obviously doing the last time she wore this cape. Because as I was measuring it and inspecting it so I could describe it properly on my Etsy shop listing, I found an inside pocket that had two items: a receipt for gas from 2005 and a little white handkerchief embroidered in blue with a "K," the initial of my first name.
She must have found it for me somewhere, on one of her excursions to a church sale or a yard sale, and was intending to give it to me. But in 2005 she began experiencing sudden health downturns, sudden trips to the ER. Was that what happened that day? Or did she just go home and forget she had this little handkerchief in her pocket?
Well, I'll never know. What I do know is that I miss her every day, and years later I accept this little gift from her gratefully, even as I put her Norwegian cape up for sale in my Etsy shop.
One thing's for certain: I'll never sell the handkerchief.