Over the weekend I paid my Grandparents a visit.
I actually went because they’d had a bad car accident a few days previously, and seeing as I was in the area that weekend (I live 150 miles away) I thought I’d check in and ask them to be more careful in future. The snow was starting to come down heavily in Norfolk and we wanted to make it back before we ended up stuck on a single carriageway in the middle of a forest for 10 hours, so sadly we couldn’t stay long.
Understand, I didn’t go to their house with the intention of leaving with bags of swag. In fact my own Mother had informed them not to give me anything “until she’d checked if she wanted it first”. But when I left I took a Victorian tin opener, 2 vintage rain coats, the hand mirror that matches my hair brush to go on my dressing table, and this…..
Now, that might not look very exciting to you, and I probably wouldn’t get 99p for it on eBay, but for me it’s very precious.
It’s my Nana’s sewing bag from school. My Nana is about 5 years younger then my Grampy and they didn’t meet until she became a WREN after the war. So while he was spending World War II aboard the HMS Belfast helping to sink the Scharnhorst (If you don’t know the sinking of the Scharnhorst story then follow the link, it’s quite interesting) my Nana was still at school.
My Nana, being a hard working, conscientious kind of girl, much like the rest of the women in our family, took her sewing with her one night after school so she could work on it at home. The rest of her class, being feckless and of inferior moral fibre (or possibly just further ahead with their sewing project) left their sewing bags at school.
That night the school was bombed, taking everyone’s sewing with it.
So what I have here might not be intrinsically valuable, but it’s irreplaceable.
This is why I love vintage clothing, furniture and all the other nick nacks I fill my house with. In this case I know the story behind this every day item and that makes it really precious, but all vintage has it’s own little stories and history.
The brand new and boxed pair of 50s gloves in a special Christmas box from a department store might have been bought as a present for someone and kept for a special occasion that never came.
That vintage tea set might have only cost £6, but once it was someones “best” china, bought out for celebrations and special visitors.
Our 1930s wind up portable gramophone was once the equivalent of someones iPhone. The exciting new technology that they could take on picnics for music on the go.
Essentially I’m a soppy old cow, and as well as being particularly fond of the lady like and elegant looks of the 30s, 40s and 50s, I also like the sense of history and being part of a bigger story that buying vintage lets me tap into. Sometimes I’ll “rescue” items that will never be wearable or usable just because I can’t stand the thought of all the history that’s behind it being left sitting unloved in a warehouse or being destroyed by someone who doesn’t care.
This is the reason I never throw things away, and the reason my house is such a litter of beautiful clutter, and I kind of like it that way.