Thursday, December 14, 2017

Kindness / Amabilidad

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

ONE OF THE things we shipped from New York after My Mother The Dowager Duchess died was a small, plaster, corbel shelf that had been in her living room since 1969. We also shipped a "jade" fisherman statue that had stood on that shelf for those 47 years. My sister and I bought the fisherman at Azuma, a trendy Japanese store in Manhattan. It turns out it was lightweight resin (of course we couldn't have afforded a carved jade statue, but what did we know). Anyway, the fisherman arrived here broken along with a myriad of other items that had been unceremoniously tossed in the box by incompetent, indifferent packers. I also noticed the corbel was in much worse condition than I had realized.

Nearly a year later, our friend and contractor Santi was here and I gave the corbel to him for his wife, Marisa, who was studying furniture and art restoration. I thought she might enjoy experimenting with it and I told him it was hers to keep. Time passed and I never gave the corbel another thought. Then, Tuesday, I received a text message from Marisa asking if I had time to meet for a drink at Mesón Salvador. Of course I went. Any time spent with Santi, Marisa, or their son and daughter (both in their 20s), is a gift. They are all kind, generous, warm, loving, funny, intelligent exceptional human beings.

Marisa had a gift for me. The restored corbel. She said she loved every minute of the work but felt that since it had belonged to my mother, it was important that I have it back. She hadn't just restored it. She had transformed it, painstakingly covering it in gold leaf. I was moved to tears. I didn't have enough words in Spanish — nor in English for that matter — to tell Marisa what this meant to me. And, today, while looking for a "before" photo of the corbel (and fisherman) I was surprised how shaken I was when I saw the pictures of my mother's old living room. I had been indifferent to saying good-bye to that home until now. Marisa's kindness opened my own heart a bit more.

UNA DE LAS cosas que enviamos desde Nueva York después de que muriera Mi Madre La Duquesa Viuda era una ménsula que había estado en el salón desde 1969. También enviamos una estatua de pescador de "jade" que había estado en esa ménsula para esos 47 años. Mi hermana y yo compramos la estatua en Azuma, una tienda japonesa de moda en Manhattan. Resultó que era resina ligera (por supuesto, no podíamos comprar una estatua de jade tallada, pero qué sabíamos). De todos modos, el pescador llegó aquí roto junto con una miríada de otros artículos que habían sido arrojados sin contemplaciones en la caja por empacadores incompetentes e indiferentes. También noté que la ménsula estaba en condiciones mucho peores de lo que me había dado cuenta.

Casi un año después, nuestro amigo y contratista Santi estaba aquí y le di la ménsula por su esposa, Marisa, que estaba estudiando muebles y restauración artística. Pensé que ella podría disfrutar experimentando con eso y le dije que era suyo para mantener. Pasó el tiempo y nunca le di otro pensamiento a la ménsula. Luego, el martes, recibí un mensaje de texto de Marisa que me preguntaba si tenía tiempo de encontrarme para tomar algo en el Mesón Salvador. Por supuesto que fui. Cualquier tiempo pasado con Santi, Marisa, o su hijo e hija (ambos en sus 20 años), es un regalo. Son seres humanos excepcionales amables, generosos, cálidos, cariñosos, divertidos e inteligentes.

Marisa tenía un regalo para mí. La ménsula restaurada. Ella dijo que amaba cada minuto del trabajo, pero que, como había pertenecido a mi madre, era importante recuperarlo. Ella no solo lo había restaurado. Ella lo había transformado y lo había cubierto cuidadosamente en pan de oro. Me conmovió hasta las lágrimas. No tenía suficientes palabras en español — ni en inglés para el caso — para decirle a Marisa lo que esto significaba para mí. Y, hoy, mientras buscaba una foto "anterior" de la ménsula (y pescador), me sorprendió lo conmocionado que estaba cuando vi las fotos de la sala de estar de mi madre. Había sido indiferente a decir adiós a esa casa hasta ahora. La amabilidad de Marisa abrió mi corazón un poco más.

WORK IN PROGRESS.
TRABAJO EN PROGRESO.
DONE.
REALIZADO.
APPROPRIATE REPLACEMENT, ALASKAN SOAPSTONE MOTHER AND CHILDREN I GAVE TO THE DUCHESS IN 1974.
OCUPANTES REEMPLAZOS, MADRE E HIJOS DE ESTEATITA DE ALASKA QUE LE DI A LA DUQUESA EN 1974.
THE FISHERMAN AT LEFT, CORBEL AT RIGHT, READY FOR PACKING.
EL PESCADOR (IZQUIERDA), MÉNSULA (DERECHA), LISTO PARA EMPACAR.
THE ONLY OLD PHOTO I COULD FIND.
LA ÚNICA FOTO ANTIGUA QUE PUDE ENCONTRAR.

30 comments:

  1. cool! good friends are hard to find! I recognize the rug that is now in your living room.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. anne marie:
      The rug, coffee table, piano stool, commode hidden by sofa, some pillows, some needlework on the walls, and more!

      Delete
  2. Memories are triggered by places and things. Mementos, souvenirs - things we hang our feelings on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Travel:
      Music, especially, does it for me.

      Delete
  3. What a lovely story. The restored corbel is magnificent!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debra:
      I can't believe the care Marisa took with it and the stunning quality. I wish my mother could see it!

      Delete
  4. How fitting the statue of mother and children is on the restored corbel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wilma:
      At first, I just put it there as a place-holder. But then I appreciated the meaning; so it may stay.

      Delete
  5. What an incredibly kind thing to do! It looks beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robin:
      Still can't believe it. I'm so grateful.

      Delete
  6. What a kind and thoughtful gift, you do have great friends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheapchick:
      I can't stop looking at it with gratitude and sweet memories.

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Adam:
      I had no idea it could look this good.

      Delete
  8. Looks Great! I loves pieces like that to put a little keepsake on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. mistress maddie:
      We have a small bronze statue that looked brilliant on it, but the statue was a bit tippy on the slightly bowed surface. It would have been nice, too, since my mother paid for it as a house-warming gift in San Francisco.

      Delete
  9. Amazing how a little kindness can soften us a little. Happy for you, Mitchell.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's a beautiful restoration. I like that it wasn't made to look new.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen:
      I agree. She did a painstaking job of applying gold leaf and finishing it. Great taste.

      Delete
  11. I'd say what she did was world's beyond mere kindness. What a lovely thing to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob:
      Which is why I have no words that can sufficiently express how I feel.

      Delete
  12. That corbel is beautiful, and now it's priceless! The D.D. certainly lived in style in her Brooklyn high-rise. Very nice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Walt the Fourth:
      She had her style and it was a great apartment. We used to fantasize about how we would renovate it if it were ours. Large, big rooms, natural light, great views.

      Delete
  13. What a lovely, kind thing to do for you. And the corbel is so nice!
    I am happy to see a photo of the D.D.'s beautiful apartment. Such nice colors and textures together.
    Judy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Judy:
      Since the apartment is gone there'll be no new photos. I'll scan some photos and do a post on it. It was a great apartment.

      Delete
  14. Such kindness and care in restoring a loving memory to you. You are a fortunate man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Willym:
      I'm still overwhelmed and so grateful.

      Delete
    2. Spo:
      There are some very good and special people in the world.

      Delete

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