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SILVER ON MY MIND
When thinking about my silver, itís not always the piece
itself I treasure, but remembering how I became its lucky
guardian. So instead of writing about my silver collection, I
decided to share my collection of silver memories.
For instance, I will never forget the excitement I felt when a
close friend gave me a piece of silver plate that belonged to
Sonja Henie. It is just a worn little plate with a monogrammed
"H." Sonja must have had dozens of them. But it is about as
close to a celebrity as Iím going to get.
Then there was a Newport Sterling weighted candle stick I found
for $1.99 at Goodwill. It was sticky, greasy, and oddly fuzzy
when I held it up by two fingers and took it at arm's length to
the cashier. Now it shines on my dresser and I canít believe I
almost passed it by.
And the thrill of a rummage sale find can best be understood by
other weekend treasure hunters. One long day after driving all
over town and finding nothing, I pulled up to my house and
spotted a garage sale sign just four doors down the block. My
adrenaline spiked when just yards from my own home I noticed an
Amston sterling rimmed drinking glass coaster for 25 cents.
Another Saturday morning I pounced on a Louis XIV by Towle cream
ladle for two dollars. Because of the particular shape of the
bowl, my husband dubbed it Sweet Cheeks.
But my fondest memory is of the two of us ducking into a Salvation Army
store to warm up during the Christmas parade. We
werenít the only frozen parade goers to seek refuge in the dust
covered store. If we had been more observant when we walked
through the door, we would have noticed that it was supposed to
have closed about an hour earlier.
"Weíre closing," the impatient store manager announced over and
over again as yet more red faced folks hurried inside.
The phone rang and obviously it was the harried manager's wife
wanting to know why he wasn't home yet. A line was forming at
the cash register. After all, it was the holiday season and
dusty or not, people were in the mood to shop.
That is about the time I noticed two tarnished silver bread and
butter plates. I suppose I should mention that my grandmother
used to put homemade cookies on little silver plates just like
these. Of course I fell in love with them.
Automatically I turned them over. To my astonishment they were
sterling by Tiffany! I clasped them to my heart. No one could
have pried them loose from my icy grasp.
Then to my horror, above me on the wall loomed a sign that read,
"Unpriced items will be returned to the warehouse for pricing."
You guessed it, these two plates were unmarked.
I got into the long check out line. As it crawled forward, the
managerís wife called again. He looked grumpy, hung up, and
growled at his assistant to turn off some of the lights.
I had just reached the front of the line when the phone rang
again. He grabbed the receiver, stomped away from the counter,
and signaled the assistant to take over for him.
"What about these plates," she called after him holding one of
them up for him to see.
Annoyed, he bellowed, "Ninety-eight cents."
Not ninety-eight cents apiece, but ninety-eight cents for both
The next day we mailed the organization a very generous check.
We may have donated more than the plates were worth, but I will
always remember getting the deal of a lifetime!
- 2010 -