Thursday, February 02, 2012


The Lady Lamp.
A family heirloom is now living in our home. Things often come with stories ~ which is why I fail at the new mainstream Minimalist movement that's spawned in the last few years (although, I suspect it's been around much longer than that). Most of my stuff holds a story or two making it difficult to part with much of it. This lamp, I call it the Lady Lamp, first belonged to my grandmother (at least as far as I know). When I was younger, I asked her about it, where and when she had it. My grandmother had lived in and moved to so many places and she was mighty good at telling a tale. She said the lamp was only one of a pair, that the other had broken a long time ago. So the story begins . . .

My grandmother, a new mother at the time, had come home from the hospital with her new infant daughter, my mother, only few days old. As she lay the baby in the crib that night, she got to thinking about the relatives who had passed and would not ever see or bless her child. Her mother and father, both of whom had passed when she was but twelve years old, in particular brought on some measure of sadness despite the joy. She told me she'd gone to bed, but was soon awakened by a crash in the hall. Upon investigation, she found one of the Lady Lamps broken on the floor and her Siamese cat sitting in its place on the table acting very strangely. She noticed the cat looking in the direction of the nursery, watching something very intently. Then she saw them. Her ancestors in ghostly form appeared in a sort of procession. Each relative would appear, walk into the nursery, stand a moment by the crib to admire the newborn child and then move through the wall, disappearing, There were relatives she recognized, like her parents, and others she did not, but each one stopped and would look into the crib or reach down to caress the baby's head. Finally, a favorite uncle (if I remember the story correctly) lingered the longest and appeared to leave something in the crib. She waited a few minutes before going to see that my mother was safe, but when she looked into the crib she found three Lady Liberty silver dollars on the blanket.

My grandmother showed me the very coins in her collection (she was a heavy numismatist). I asked if she would part with them as I was getting into arcane occult stuff at the time and certainly, certainly, having coins from the Otherworld would be wicked cool. She declined as they were still important to her (they were things with a story), but she gave me four other Lady Liberty silver dollars from her collection. Things with stories I can pass on down the line.

And it is a story. We can question a few things here, question the veracity. How would the cat break a lamp and then bother to sit in its place? (Cats are notorious for leaving the scene of a crime. All the better if the unsuspecting dog is lying in the vicinity to pass on the blame.) How would a Lithuanian uncle come to have silver dollars from America? Just a few queries for starters. But that's not the point of Story, is it? Even in reality we sometimes have to suspend belief. And it's a pretty good story.

Obiwan Kenobi looking smug.
Last night, I gathered my TV-watching stuff together. The latest Chronogram, a couple of Nat Geo's to thumb through for images to use in SoulCollage® and my knitting (yes, the sweater). When I returned with my steaming hot tea, I found Obiwan neatly nestled on my knitting project. Reasons why I can't always get things done. The cats rule.


Ruth said...

That's a good story.

Obi Wan is just helping you spin your own yarn.

Ashling said...

It's a beautiful lamp. One person's truth is another's bedtime story; our stories are always subjective....