Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Strings that tie to you.

This pair of shoes has a story. This pair of shoes is a woman.

A wedding dress hung on the back of a door - once beautiful, now ripped and stained with age. I assumed that this had been the dress she wore on the day of her wedding, so many years ago. But my mother corrected me. This pair of shoes is a woman who lived her whole life alone. No husband, no children. Alone. This pair of shoes is a woman who collected compulsively - JFK memorabilia, a far number of hats and shoes - but mostly, jewelry. She had rooms of earrings and bracelets and big, gaudy brooches that she never wore herself, but bought because she loved to go shopping and make friends with the store clerks.

When she died, there were few left that remembered her.

But she has a story. I can only guess at the finer details; I don't even know her name. I could only gaze around in awe at the enormous array of things that were left in her house, neatly organized and priced. I bought this pair of shoes from her estate sale. They fueled my imagination - did she buy these new? Are they from when she was a young woman in the 1940's? Did she buy them used, compulsively, after striking up a conversation with an employee at the local Goodwill?

I'll never know the answer to those questions - she remains, to me, personified in a pair of shoes. But I can imagine my own answers.

And that is why I love vintage. Every piece has a story; every piece connects me, in a tangible way, to the past. Even if it's just through a pair of shoes.