Monday, August 07, 2006

On Selling the Holy Family

I am not one for waxing nostalgic. At least not usually. But this whole process of going through the zillion boxes of my mother's collected "stuff" sure does bring up the memories...I am not sure you understand when I say "stuff" - Included in this "stuff" is a Victorian pedal pumped organ, the size of an upright piano, a set of Havilland china, depression glass dishes in at least 4 colors, filling at least 5 boxes. Two gigantic jewelry cases of costume jewelry. Damask tablecloths. A box of plastic birds.

There is a Nativity scene -- oh, did I say *a* Nativity scene..?? Let's just veer down this road of discovery, leaving behind the bell collection, or the demitasse teacups, or the miscellaneous China...

There are bazillions of Nativity sets, starting with the one that used to be in our church that my Mom rescued from demolition --the figures (complete with camel, kings and servants ) are two feet tall (the camel may be taller) and hand painted in Italy. Anyone know a church that would love these? I'm not kidding. They are church-statue nativity set pieces. Complete with ox and ass and sheep. Somewhere around 100 years old?

Then there is the 1 foot tall Nativity -- ditto Italy, but about 50-40 years younger. Ditto looking for a church.

Then the Boehm porcelain one.

And the tiny carved Anri figural wood one.

And the one(s) from Poland. (Six at last count, mostly one piece assemblages.)

And the one Dad bought her one year.

And the one piece small wooden one in the now-dusty grotto.

The one from olive wood.

The tiny ceramic one from Spain.

And and and Mom could have attended meetings - "Help, I am a nativityholilic.."

An orphan with a Nativity fascination. 1 + 1 = 2. Not that hard to figure out.

Now I am faced with what to do with them all. I have no problem selling carvings of ducks. Cobalt glass eye cups. Pickle forks.

But selling the nativity seems crass. "Gosh, how much do you think we can get for the baby Jesus?"

I just can't get my head around it. Ghosts of Catholicism past haunt me like accusing wraithes. "You would SELL the Holy Family????"

OK, so I have decided to make gifts of them. But my friends already either have them or know that I am in the business of trying to upload a couple of dozen nativity scenes onto the market. "Please, take this as a memento of Mom" is only half true. The other half is "Please keep my conscience in tact by taking this off my shoulders!"

Barbara Streisand implores the hunter during her portrayal as Fannie Brice in Swan Lake, saying "Please -- You vouldn't shoot a schvan!" In my dreams I hear a voice with a Polish accent saying, "You vouldn't sell a shepherd !"

I haunt my friends -- we sit quietly over coffee and I find a way to ask, "So.......Do you have a nativity scene?" Most of them are on to me. They smile, pat my hand and say "Nice try."

I keep thinking I need to find homes for these -- and I have managed to find a few -- it is really the larger two sets I am fretting about -- so if you do know churches please let me know, churches who would be able to come to Massachusetts to get them, as I cannot afford to ship them anywhichwhere -- but I would drive them if not too far.

In the meantime, are there those among you who would treasure a smaller set? I have a few that would fit in a padded envelope....and besides, my Mom was a very snazzy, if eccentric, gal. I loved her wholeheartedly -- so I think she'd like to know that her nativities were given as much care as beloved puppies or kittens for whom one wants to find a caring home.

Yes, yes, I am keeping one -- or two -- maybe three. I'll do my part.

But I draw the line at the ceramic duck collection. That I'll sell.


Blogger samtzmom said...

Oh Mata, I would be more than honored and thrilled to have one, and I'd cherish it, and the memory of the love you had for your mom forever. I don't have even one...(she says rather sheepishly).

6:27 AM  
Blogger The Harbour of Ourselves said...

I'll bid for the ducks!

12:29 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

A few years ago, preparing for a class on the Reformation, I did a search on eBay and found that at the time I could buy a reliquary containing a piece of the the true cross for about a thousand dollars. By contrast, I'm touched by your reluctance to sell nativity sets.

2:35 PM  
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12:13 PM  

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