A Sister is a Life-Long Valentine

“You may be as different as the sun and the moon, but the same blood flows through both your hearts. You need her, as she needs you..”– George R.R. Martin

IMG_0935I received a treasure box from my sister this week. The box was filled with things she’d kept a long time. Perhaps things she found in Ohio and they don’t fit in their new home in Florida. Most of them I’ll keep because they are just what I would buy. That’s the way it is with us.

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I, too, am always drawn to these small reverse painted pictures. This one is charming, isn’t it? I have never seen one where the children are ice skating.

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In a frame painted in my all time favorite colors, Nile Green from the teens and 1920s, this little reverse painting is backed with rippled silvered paper in a technique named Butterfly Wings. The fur clip on the left is one of the prettiest I’ve seen and must have been from decades before the rhinestone ones of the 1950s.

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Sparkly (the glass beads are faceted) 1920s flapper necklace with tassels. Necklaces were not only worn in the front, but were often worn down the back. There were no rules in the fashion of that era and necklace colors clashing with the color of the dress was considered the height of fashion.

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This little box opened to show something that really stumped me. What the heck? These little candles float on oil and were used as night lights for children and for people recovering from an illness. They have been used for 200 years in Germany and France. They can still be purchased today. The company Glafey of Nuremberg has been in business since 1808. This box from 1958 states that there are 1000 hours of candlelight inside. That is longer than a Yankee candle!

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A bevy of Krementz and Simmons gold-plated cuff links from the teens and 1920s mixed with several gold shirt studs with amber and hematite tips.

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There were many more things in the box. Things she knew I needed and things she knew I’d like. This motto picture was on the bottom. “No pal half so dear to me” sums it up.

I was once a school secretary in a small school of only 700 students, Grades 1 through 12. The principal often left me to talk to someone sent to the office as he couldn’t get any work done (neither could I) with the constant stream of offenders. One day a teenager was sent to the office for getting into an actual fist fight with her sister over a boy they both liked. I was thinking about this as she sat there and the more I thought about it, the more worked up I became. I said the smartest thing I’ve probably ever said: “Don’t ever betray your sister. Boys come and go. Men come and go. Even husbands come and go. But your sister will always be with you.”  The girl said, “Okay!” The principal came out of his office and said, “That was really good.”  He probably used it later.

“Our sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.”            – Susan Scarf Merrell

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The last auction I attended was a night auction and it was far away. It was snowing and people seemed to want to get home so no one bid on a big parcel of china and planters. I got the box for a few dollars. The next day, I looked inside the box. There were some great things inside, especially the Fiesta in all shapes and colors. And everything was chipped except for these lovely plates. There was only one or two of each plate but look at the beautiful designs and colors.

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Someone will come in the shop who mixes and matches place settings or maybe someone will be able to merge them into a china cabinet or wall display.

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I didn’t do much in the shop for Valentine’s Day except group together the few things I had in the theme of hearts. Everyone has seen these Cupid Asleep and Cupid Awake photographs. The photographer M.B. Parkinson’s young model was Josephine Anderson, the daughter of a friend The originals were distributed by Taber-Prang Art from 1897 until 1908. This one is marked Taber-Prang. There were Black Cupid prints issued by Schlesinger Brothers and by National Art and Frame Company. They are valuable and hard to find.

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When the envelope with the heart seal is moved, the dog’s tongue moves up and down. I had several pieces of correspondence that a man named Wilfred sent to this woman in the 1930s. Actually, I don’t think he was doing well with her and I suspect old Wilfred moved on to someone else.

Yes, men come and go, but a sister is forever. I hope your were as lucky as I was in drawing a couple of winning cards for sisters.

-Ginene

 

 

Published by

Ginene Nagel

Fox and Finch Antiques is my 16-year-old shop housed in a 1890 bank building in Richmond, Illinois. I live above the shop in a space with 11 foot ceilings, big windows and a 17 stair daily commute. Richmond is a pretty little town 16 miles south of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. There are charming historic houses, a wooden bridge and the wonderful Prairie Trail runs just past my back door.

33 thoughts on “A Sister is a Life-Long Valentine”

  1. What a great post, Ginene, and what great items you’ve shown. Your sister sent you some really nice, unusual things. I LOVE that reverse painted print of the children. And the Flapper beads – oh my! The pale yellow of the teapot, the china finds you won (not to mention the transferware). I also appreciate the info I learn from you – the history on the Cupid prints, and the name, Nile Green, of that color from the 1920s. I may not retain those tidbits, but I know where to come and search to refresh. Thanks for sharing. Sisters are the best, yes indeed. Sending love your way from WV on this cold weekend.

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  2. What a beautiful sentiment, Ginene. I loved the tour through your treasures too. I remember those little floating candles decades ago – maybe the 60s. People would float them in bowls for parties. Thanks for the smile on my face.

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  3. Beautiful post. I love those little floating candles. Reverse painted pictures are favorites of mine too, especially scenes with children playing. All your treasures are so pretty, how nice it is that you and your sister are close and love the same things! That is such a blessing.

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    1. Once my sister was visiting my mother in Wisconsin and attended a charity flea market at the town hall. She returned to my parents’ house with her newly purchased treasure of the day. We had a good laugh when Mother said she had donated it to the town flea market. We all like the same things.

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      1. That reminds me of an antique toddler chair I bought in the 70’s, donated it to an auction in the 80’s, and found it back in my home again owned by the people who bought my house. They were the lucky bidders at the auction years earlier.

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  4. This was such the perfect sister romantic story.. Your words hit my heart because me and my sister are so close.. I can’t imagine life without her. You’re so right about how men, husbands, etc come and go.. A sister is forever. I remember one day in the 5th grade a boy called himself liking me and wrote a dirty note with my name, well it was passed around and it got to her, and I didn’t know anything about it. Well my sister got up from her chair and walked over and punched that boy in the face.. Lol.. The teacher was shocked and didn’t know what happened because that was not like her. When she handed the teacher the note the teacher put the boy in timeout.. Lol. .. That teacher always remembered that and we’d all laugh … Sisters.. Gotta live them. And god knows I love mine

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    1. That is a great story! The odd, and I mean really odd, thing about boys (no offense meant to my male readers and maybe they would explain) is that they often did the exact opposite of what a girl would like. In grade school, a boy put dried bugs in the pages of one of my school books. I thought that meant he hated me which was quite upsetting since I hadn’t even noticed him. The teacher told me that meant he liked me. (?)

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  5. Lovely post Ginene. It works for brothers too. The Valentine’s day grouping is most attractive, and your odd plates find beautiful. Jackie has some nineteenth century lacy doily cut cards given to her by a woman in her nineties in the seventies. One, not actually addressed to her, bears a postage stamp on the envelope

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    1. Oh, how lovely. I just found out how expensive those 19th century lacy cut cards were at the time. They cost up to three dollars each which was a lot of money then. They must have been purchased by some very wealthy people. I wonder, did the uncanceled stamp mean it wasn’t delivered or was it delivered in person. So intriguing.

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  6. Having two younger sisters myself, I very much appreciate this post. One sister, too young a widow and the other better off without, have become like sisters to George as well. We have great times laughing about the past and making grand plans for the future. You are right: sisters are forever!

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  7. What a sweet box of treasures from your sister! I always learn a bit more about our past when I visit here. The candles, the flapper era, the reverse pictures…amazing some times! The box of china…how lucky you were to stick around at the auction! I love to mix up dishes…not so much the china I have, but everyday dishes. So fun.

    Sisters can be quite a challenge…maybe because we are so much alike!

    Hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Stay warm!

    Jane xx

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  8. Ginene, You realized this truth much sooner than I. My sister and I were opposites in every way (physical, personalities, career goals and dreams.) We fought like cats and dogs to prove it. I am embarrassed to admit that It wasn’t until two years ago that we finally reconciled. Now I understand the sentiment in your post. When she found out she was going to be a grandma for the first time, I was the first call that she made. Yes, sisters are special.

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    1. That your sister called you first with the most important news she ever received was the supreme compliment. I got choked up when I read that she called you first. You must be a wonderful sister to her because she called you knowing that you would be thrilled for her!
      Love,
      Ginene

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  9. What a wonderful post, Ginene! I think your relationship with your sister is beautiful. I never had a sister. You all find the most amazing items! I adore the shadow skaters. You reminded me that my mom had some of those reverse cutouts done of me when I was a child. I need to find them and have them framed.

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  10. I’m sure your words of wisdom have helped many more people than just that teenage girl. I know they’ve helped me! I’m blessed to have 3 sisters and there is definitely a strong bond between us, though we did have a few hair-pulling fights as kids/teenagers!

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  11. No one can indeed be half as dear to you as your sister, if the items so diligently, thoughtfully and affectionately put together for you are any indication. Many of these pieces, specially the picture frames and colourfully designed plates, remind me of the 1960s. Your sibling story also swept me back in time to the growing up years of my own two little sisters, of whom today one is a banker and the other a practising gynaecologist. It takes a refined heart to collect these pieces and an equally beautiful recipient like you to deserve its possession…best wishes to you and your dear sister… Raj.

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  12. What a lovely box of treasures from your sister! And the mixed pattern plates are just my style… if only I lived closer to your shop. Thanks for sharing all these gems.

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