Saturday, February 23, 2013

“So here of course, is the image that forms the reason I contacted you in the first place …”

Life often has a way of showing up and taking you where you least expect. As I was writing a Blog update for my LandlockedCottage blog about how vintage finds often bring with them their stories from the past as they move through to the future, a wonderful story came my way via a shopper at one of my vintage shops. It seemed that the women was passionate about the suitcase, hat and dress she was searching for as they represented the story of her mother. We shared a few emails back and I came to hear of her story and to my delight she even shared a stunning black and white photo of her mother arriving on a transatlantic flight to her new Canadian home and sporting the very case she found in my shop. Well as stories go this is a great one and although it is long I promise you it is well worth the read. It will take you on a wonderful personal journey of one family and yet it shares the common theme of the importance of simple items and family treasures we hold dear. Whether they are passed down or we rediscovered them again in a great vintage find, these items remind us where we came from and who we are.
Please enjoy Manuela’s story of how her family came to be and why her great vintage find was so very dear to her memories …

“When I look at vintage photos of my young parents on their journey to Canada, what astounds me is how sophisticated and stylish they were. I could easily have been convinced that they were children of wealthy parent given how polished and elegant they appeared. In fact, my father was a machinist who later became an iron worker, and my mother had worked in a butcher shop in Berlin.
 Humble immigrants from humble beginnings.   
 They had met as teens on a rare hard-earned weekend ski expedition in the Bavarian alps. My mother lived in Berlin and my father in the outskirts of Munich, in the small town of Freising.
  He used to ride his bicycle up into the alps with his skis strapped on to his backpack of mountaineering supplies. My mother had saved every spare penny for her first ever ski excursion and had arrived with a girlfriend by train. In post war Germany, this distance both culturally and geographically would be akin to someone fro Labrador meeting someone from Texas at a rodeo in Houston at the tender age of 15. My father spotted my mother and purposely mowed her down on the slopes for the sole reason of meeting this gorgeous blonde. My parents fell so in love that weekend, corresponded by mail for the next three years while meeting up only a few times. Three years later, both only 18 (my mind boggles!), they made the momentous decision to immigrate to Canada to try and build a better life, make money and hoped to eventually  move back to Germany. In Canada not only did they have no family, friends or contacts, they also spoke not a single word of English between them and carried a sum total of $50 savings as they landed in Canada to start a new life. How unbelievably brave they seem to me.
And so it was, that just four months later my parents decided that they would not return to Germany but instead make Canada their permanent home and formalized their love in a humble wedding. There were only two guests, and the honeymoon consisted of a shared lake-side cabin for two nights.
Even on the rocky shores of a provincial lake, my mother still managed to look like a million bucks and capable of convincing the photo that she was lounging somewhere in the south of France rather than the middle of Manitoba! 
 My mom and Dad adopted me, their only child, eight years later and they remained the happiest, most loving and affectionate couple I have ever known.

So here of course, is the image that forms the reason I contacted you in the first place … 

This photo represents so much for me, it encapsulates so much of what both my parents stand for. Dignity, sacrifice, diligence, self-reliance, love, partnership, gusto, joie de vivre, confidence, hard work, more hard work, and then working just a little harder still … and the idea that presenting yourself in the most polished fashion possible represents a public declaration of self respect. They never had to verbalize these sentiments to me. It wasn’t necessary. It was evident in every single action they ever undertook.
As a little girl, long before any of this became a part of my understanding of my parents, I saw this picture and thought of my mother as a glamorous, world-class movie star. No matter that she worked as a cleaning woman for years. Regardless of what my mom did to make a living to my eyes Grace Kelly had nothing on my mom. Today, I feel this even more strongly now that I understand that not only did she now own so much as a tube of lipstick, but she put herself together on a budget of pennies and looked every inch the beautiful woman she was. This photo allows me to look at my mom through the eyes of my dad, who knew that she was the most beautiful women in the world. He always saw her that way, right up until the very moment she died last year, after 54 years of marriage, while my dad lovingly held her hands.”

Thank you to Manuela for the loving story of her parents Judy and George, and to others who share their wonderful stories of how my vintage finds become their treasures!
To read more on the simple vintage lifestyle and how great finds find me please visit my LandlockedCottage blog.

Thanks for visiting!

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