Thursday, August 20, 2009

One Woman's Treasure.......

My Aunt Tiny never learned to talk, not so most of us could understand her. She was born with a speech handicap that today would probably be reversible but which kept her at home forever with my grandparents. My grandmother was very protective of her and treated her as if she were an invalid, but she could learn as well as anybody and loved to quilt and garden. We all loved her very much, but what do you get for someone's birthday or Christmas when she already has everything she wants or needs? She loved pretty trinkets and figurines, and so that's what the family gave her.

When my sister Nan I and were little, Aunt Tiny's room was off-limits because it was filled to overflowing with her delicate glass menagerie, but sometimes we'd be allowed to walk carefully into the room and sit on the foot of the bed for a few minutes and gaze at the glittering display of ceramic, crystal, and blown glass figures crowded together on dresser tops, on shelves and in glass front cabinets. We held our breaths in reverence, speaking to each other in whispers as we pointed out pieces that caught our eye. Aunt Tiny, who wasn't the one who made the rule that kept us out, would be standing at the door, smiling and eyes twinkling as she enjoyed our delight over her collection. She was so loving and generous and would have given us anything we wanted, but we knew better than to ask because we'd have been scolded later.

You know how, when you're a child, everything seems larger? Well, my favorite piece among the hundreds was a delicate glass reindeer, with red antlers and a silver body. I remember it as being graceful and tall, maybe 18 inches high. It was always the first thing I looked for in Aunt Tiny's room.

My grandparents died, both nearing 100, in a nursing home, and Aunt Tiny went to live with my mother. When she, too, passed away, and my mother was selling her own home, I went up to help with the moving sale. As I browsed around through furniture, table scarves and bric-a-brac that brought back childhood memories, I stopped short and drew in my breath! There, tossed onto a box of junk was the glass deer! (But it was no longer 18 inches tall. It's actually about 6 inches in height.)I know my hands were shaking as I picked it up, certain that such treatment had resulted in broken legs or antlers. No breaks or chips, only a little of his silver had deteriorated, but I would have loved him in any condition. I turned to my mom and asked softly, "Can I have this?" She said of course, take anything I wanted, but I had the treasure I wanted in my hands and quickly took it to my car, wrapped in a towel.

I've since found out that the mercury blown glass deer are antiques from Germany. There are 2 (not half so pretty as mine) on Ebay right now, "as is", for $75 + $10 shipping. My glass reindeer lives quietly in my bedroom, in a glass box that holds beautiful memories of my darling Aunt Tiny, but I'm sure he misses his friends and the days when excited little girls crept into the room to admire them.


  1. Cat, this is beautiful. You are a beautiful person and I hope you know this.

  2. I enjoy your blog. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Cat, I don't comment as often as I should but I really love reading about your life and family. I love your beautiful little reindeer and I'm sure your Aunt is happy to know you are now looking after him for her.