Friday, March 3, 2017

Supplier for Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, Funerals

While cleaning out My Mother The Dowager Duchess's apartment in August, we had some surprises. She and my father purchased their massive bedroom furniture in 1950. I found the original receipt. I have no idea how they afforded it considering the fact that my mother always claimed they were poor. They paid $846 in 1950. In today's money, that's equivalent to $8,472.39.

We would have loved to have shipped it here, but it would have cost a fortune. Besides, our largest bedroom couldn't fit it all. The two dressers together were about 7 feet long.

I found a bunch of doily-like items in black and white. They're provided free for women to cover their heads at Jewish rites such as weddings, bar mitzvahs, and funerals. Black for funerals, obviously, and white for the happier occasions. Typical of my mother ("I might be able to use it for a project") she kept every single one. One drawer of the side cabinet in a dresser was filled with them. I laughed when I tossed them all on the bed. But then I discovered that two more drawers were also filled. There were hundreds of them. I can't imagine that my mother actually went to hundreds of events. I think she stole a lot of them. But, she would argue indignantly, "I didn't steal them. They put them out for free. I only took some extras... just in case."

(Click the images for the bigger picture.)

THE TWO DRESSERS THAT WERE STUFFED FULL.
TWO LARGE MIRRORS WERE MOUNTED ON THE SAME MAHOGANY.
THE HEADBOARD. THE ONLY PIECE OF FURNITURE THAT WAS EMPTY.
(EXCEPT FOR AN OLD, DEAD, LANDLINE TELEPHONE AND A BOX OF TISSUES).
A SAMPLING.
MY NEW BUSINESS: BULK ORDERS ONLY.
HIGHER RATES FOR THOSE WITH ADORNMENTS.

31 comments:

  1. Wow! We Catholics used to have to wear little lace things on our heads (of various styles) any time we entered the church, if we didn't have a hat. The church did not provide them, however. We were left to be considered sinners, if we didn't provide for ourselves. That's why there are (surely) plenty of family photos of Catholic girls in the '60s with Kleenex tissues bobby-pinned to our heads. Any port in a storm, eh?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Judy:
      I could have set up a kiosk outside church and sold these!

      Delete
  2. Your mother and mine had a LOT of similarities...!!
    That's quite the "doily" collection. :)

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    Replies
    1. Knatolee:
      I knew she saved everything, but this surprised even me!

      Delete
  3. Hi Mitchell, wow you could go into business. Chuck has a collection of yamakkas for various occasions but nothing like that!
    Enjoy your weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cat Lover:
      My brother CHUCK showed up for the funeral with his own yamakka (we used the free ones provided by the funeral home). But Chuck's yamakka looked familiar. I snatched it from his head and looked inside. It was personalized... from my bar mitzvah... in 1967!!!

      Delete
    2. That's wonderful he kept it!

      Delete
    3. Cat Lover:
      He didn't even know that's what it was. He got a huge grin when I told him.

      Delete
  4. I am thinking of a Cyndi Lauper outfit made from lacey things when I see these doilies!!
    Actually I remember my mother bringing home one of these way back when....she and my dad went to a Jewish wedding.
    1950's furniture is the 'rage' now for a certain artsy folk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jim:
      Jerry and I both found this bedroom set to be so cool. Oh well! Your mother brought back only ONE?!?!

      Delete
    2. You never met my mother, Mitchell......then you would understand. lol

      Delete
  5. Clearing stuff is a bittersweet affair..glad to see you are positive today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John:
      The clearing out was easier for me than I expected... easier than it was for Jerry. I was somehow very pragmatic. Now, I'm enjoying the stories (poor you). And, yes, today is a mostly positive day!

      Delete
  6. You could make a serious quilt out of all that :)

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    Replies
    1. Cheapchick:
      My MOTHER could have made a serious quilt out of all that!

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. anne marie:
      Too late. But I don't think a shul would let me back in anyway!

      Delete
  8. Your Mother was a very resourceful woman, much like my own Mother was. I adored her for it - among other things!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wilma:
      There was a collection of used bubblewrap in a closet along with spools of ribbon — dozens of spools of ribbon, and empty spools, too... for those projects! Thankfully, I had been thinning things out for her in recent years (but only when she was in the hospital for something; that's the only time she would give me permission).

      Delete
  9. This ... "I might be able to use it for a project" ... I love.

    And, yeah, if they're giving them away why take just one?

    Love the dresser, too; it looks like a small car could fit inside!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob:
      One of my mother's most repeated phrases, "I might be able to use it for a project." She also told me the hotels expected you to "take" things. The two dressers combined were about 95 inches long! That's longer than a Renault Twizy!

      Delete
  10. I was given one of those black lacy doilies to wear on my head when I attended a synagogue funeral once. But the usher gave my butch friend a yarmulke because he assumed she was a man. (Or, more likely, a teenaged boy -- she was a very boyish butch. I always figured we looked like mother and son together, lol).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debra:
      Those lacy doilies would stick better to my bristly head -- like Velcro. Odd that they don't just give men and women yarmulkes anyway.

      Delete
  11. I like that furniture. I see a hint of Art Deco in it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen:
      I agree. My parents' first apartment did have a deco look. Maybe it was retro in 1950.

      Delete
  12. Oh my, my parents had a similar bedroom furniture they bought in 1955. It must have been the fashion then. It was beautiful wood and solid furniture. It lasted them all their lives. I keep my yarmulke and I have several it is always handy, just in case they don't give them out. But I do not have a collection like your mother's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurent:
      My mother also had a small collection of yarmulkes in the house but they had been saved by my brother from different events, so less than 10.

      Delete
  13. Yup. My grandmother's bedroom suite is similar, but in early American, big and bulky with huge matching bedside tables. It was fine in her house, but when she moved it into her much smaller apartment it seemed very out of scale. The stuff will last forever. I'd rather the furniture crumbled and I still had my grandmother around!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I spent last night lying in bed measuring the bedroom and imagining what could have fit. Those two dressers would have eaten another couple of feet in length and depth, but they would have worked. Shoot! Too bad we're not built to last as long as some of that furniture!

      Delete
  14. The doilies aren't so bad - my mother had a collection of TV Guides in a cupboard in her kitchen. She had seen a project of folding them and spray painting them to resemble (apparently) Christmas trees. There were hundreds of them - she had enough to reforest the entire West Coast of Canada. I might add I never saw one of them completed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Willym:
      Wow! I am so glad my mother didn't get TV guide. I'm sure she would have done the same thing... AND made some Christmas trees, too.

      Delete

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