Originally published July 18, 2015, coinciding with my sister’s summer visit.
One of my family’s time-honored traditions when my sister comes home to visit is that of having lunch at The Old Grist Mill in Seekonk, Massachusetts. Afterward, my mother, sister, and I invariably head next door to Vinny’s Antiques, a haven for junque spelunkers. The spacious center features the wares of over 200 dealers spread throughout two floors with little room to spare: estate jewelry, furniture, vintage clothing, glassware, and collectibles.
For years, to no avail, I have scanned the contents of every jewelry display case looking for a poison ring, and preferably one that’s bold. Mind you, the hidden wells of so-called “poison rings” can be used to hold pictures, locks of hair, pills, perfume wax, or sentimental relics.
Disappointed, yet determined to make our visit to Vinny’s worth my while, I set out to explore every nook and cranny inside a musty vault. Without fail, the three of us end up shouting for one another to behold items identical to our possessions of yesteryear. As my mother downsized and transitioned in life, she bequeathed many of these keepsakes to me which I’ve stowed away.
I am the keeper of more than a dozen Howdy Doody Welch jelly glasses amassed during the 1950s.
I am the keeper of pink and turquoise blue Melmac cups and saucers, and a creamer & sugar set my mother had collected piecemeal from boxes of powdered dish detergent during the 1960s.
From the same decade, I am the keeper of a vintage, Inarco canister set in an orange spice pattern.
Turns out, my keepsakes are in mint condition. In much better state than those we’ve come across at Vinny’s, each unit could fetch a decent amount of spare change, which isn’t the point. Stored behind cupboard doors and out of reach, these relics of the past hold sentimental value as keepsakes. Until my reign is over, I am their keeper for now.
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