Hi friends! Saturday and Sunday smiles for everyone! Woohoo!Our weather has been hot but glorious in Michigan this week! And we are loving it! I hope you have been having some great weather as well!
So this week we have a little bit of everything!
First of all, an update on me. How am I doing? I am now almost completely “crutch free”. My walking game is not exactly graceful, but I am getting there. Right now, I kind of walk like Frankenstein, but with a little groove! I’m getting there!
So this week, I wanted to share with you some more of our interests. Troy and I both love history. And, we both like antiques as well. Specifically, my husband loves radios. I have shared some of them on here before. In the picture below is one of our favorite radios!
The radio is an Echophone Model 60 Cathedral Radio from the year 1931. Isn’t it beautiful? Back in 1931, it retailed for $53.75. At that time, a loaf of bread went for 8 cents, a lb of hamburger went for 11 cents, and the average household rent went for $18 a month. So this radio would have been about 3 months of rent money! The stock market had crashed in 1929, and things were really tough. Herbert Hoover was President. The Dust Bowl hit and times were tough all over!
But the radio brought news, and entertainment, intimately right into your living room, and that was such a source of comfort in uncertain times! In 1930, over 40% of households had a radio, and just 10 years later that had more than doubled to 83%.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt made use of this medium with his famous “Fireside Chats” in which he would speak directly and informally to the people of the United States. He would be introduced, “Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States” and right through that radio in homes across the land, would come his voice, “My Friends…” and he would speak directly to the people in first person referring to himself as “I” and to the people as “you” as though they were sitting across each other face to face. I think there is something very tender and caring in that. It would make you feel that you mattered.
If you look at the radio, it is beautiful with the peak coming to a point and the beautiful circular design almost reminiscent of a stained glass window in the spirit of the great cathedrals of Europe. Indeed capturing the hearts of people around the world.
Troy and I went to a huge auction several years ago in Crown Point, Indiana. It’s an annual auction they hold every January, and it lasts 3 days. They sell all sorts of things from jewelry to cars and everything in between. We were there for the radios, and they probably had over 100 radios, most of which were really nice, upscale antique radios. People with big bucks were having a heyday buying one after the other! There were about 50 folks bidding on the radios. Troy had his eyes on this one! The bidding began, and in no time I thought, “Oh no! It’s going too high too fast!” But Troy wanted it. And so did someone else. The man sitting right next to Troy! At one point I nudged Troy with my elbow to just let it go. And the auctioneer saw it and said, “Hey! She’s nudging you to keep bidding!” Ultimately, Troy won and this beauty came home with us!
The other piece I wanted to share with you is this convex mirror with the Federal eagle on the top. The knobs around the mirror are 13, for the original 13 colonies.
I had seen one of these in my cousin’s home, only massive in a front foyer up high on a vaulted ceiling. It took my breath away! And the eagle is such a symbol of strength and perseverance and our beloved freedom! So I began shopping “Craigslist”. These were few and far between. And my budget would definitely be for a smaller replica. And one day, I found one online- in Binghamton, NY!
Now I am always up for an adventure, and I was pretty sure my husband would think I had lost my marbles, but still, I called on it. Yes . it was still available! The lady selling it could not believe I was even considering it with the distance I would have to drive. But I was thrilled at the thought of the adventure! She told me to drive carefully, and before you know it I was on my way (530 miles) to Binghamton, NY!
What a trip! I played the radio, I stopped and took pictures and drove through these beautiful little towns. And finally I arrived. It is a busy college town. The house was full of character in a vintage neighborhood, and I called my son and told him I was about to knock on the door.
The woman who answered was very nice with a friendly smile. She had been a professor at the local university and was retiring. She had a passion for art and history and had been all over the world teaching, and the walls and shelves and every nook and cranny had a piece of art or sculpture of some kind. There was a very tall older gentleman there as well. They had been friends for many years, but they had decided for retirement to go their separate ways. He wanted to move to a farm in Pennsylvania with his son, and she wanted to move to Florida. It was such an interesting story. He had been involved with a government agency for most of his life. All of these incredible details were dropping like little clues to a perplexing unique and fascinating story! I almost forgot to ask about the mirror!
It had belonged to her mother and was in her basement. I followed her down the rickety basement steps and there it was, face down, a slight tear on the back and a very vintage looking tag on it that said L.M. Castner Co. Williamsport, PA. I researched it, and the company was in business from 1882 until it was bought out in the 1940’s and moved to Ohio. She sold it to me for $25. I was thrilled!
So then she asked if there was anything else I was interested in. I had told them earlier that I worked at a church, and she said, “What about a Bible? Would you be interested in a Bible?” I said, “Well, may I see it?” (I do have some vintage Bibles I will share on another day). She disappeared and came back a moment later with this Bible.
I picked it up and the leather was so soft and worn, very old. I asked her if she could tell me about the Bible. She said it was her mother’s Bible. I immediately said, ‘Oh no, you don’t want to give that up!” And she said, “Yes I do! I am trying to get rid of everything. My kids don’t want it, I asked them.” And I stood there and thought of her mom, and said, “Yes, I would love it.” And she sold it to me for $4. The woman was as sweet as could be, and I imagined how her mom probably thought the sun rose and set in her. Her daughter, the Professor! World traveler! Her baby girl! I smiled thinking of her.
It had little news clippings in it, a story from the Binghamton Press on March 2, 1950 by H. C. Mattern. A story about a man that had reached rock bottom financially and emotionally in 1930, and he cried out to God for help. He promised in his prayer that he would spend the rest of his life reaching out and helping others that had hit their breaking point as well. And that is what he did. What a magnificent obsession!
The article had certain sentences underlined carefully by a blue pen. I imagined her mom treasuring that story. Did she feel she connected with him as a person who helps others? Or perhaps as one who needed encouragement? There was also a page from a hymn book folded carefully inside. The song she had saved was, “Will There Be Stars?” It is a faith based song about living your life with purpose. Her little Bible sits in my den now, and whenever I see it, I smile and think warmly of the lady who once owned it.
I packed up my purchases, and bid them farewell and warm wishes for the next chapter of their lives. I was driving away with treasures from their stories that now would be part of mine. I think of them often and hope they are really enjoying their lives. How amazing it is that people from completely different parts of the country would come together for a moment like that. I was with them for maybe a half hour or more, 500 miles from my home, learning tidbits of their stories.
I love meeting new people. Every single person we lock eyes with is someone with a story. They all started as someone’s precious baby, someone cared for them, and they grew with dreams and passions and talents of their own.
We are on this journey of life together in this window of time. I think that is so significant. We were meant to be here together for a reason. Part of our purpose is to love and encourage the people we get to do this life with. Just as we are mindful of caring for the earth, we have a greater calling in caring for each other.
My aunt (my dad’s sister Barb) once wrote me a letter telling me about some memories from her childhood. One story I will never forget, she shared that during the Depression, she was in the car with her father driving home in a pouring rainstorm, and it was cold. As they drove down the road, they saw a woman walking in the rain. Her father pulled the car over and offered the lady a ride. She gratefully accepted, got in the car, and they drove on. My aunt said she remembered how the woman was drenched. Her coat was wool, soaking wet and she could remember the smell of the wool and rain. They drove on in silence, and her father dropped the woman off at her destination, she politely thanked him, and they never saw each other again. But there was that moment in time, when one human being cared for another. That was a powerful lesson for a little girl to learn. She shared this with me when she was in her 80’s. And now I am learning from it at 57.
You never know what your smile, your kind word or deed may mean to the people you bestow it upon. Have you met those people who seem to eat, sleep and breathe thinking of others? They generally are some of the happiest people you will ever meet. Not because trouble never comes their way, but because reaching out to your fellow man is incredibly satisfying! You can have a day jam packed full of to do’s but at the end of the day, if you had an opportunity to lift up a person with a broken heart or hold the hand of someone who is afraid, or bring a smile to the face of a lonely person, that is what you will think about when you lay your head on the pillow at night. And you may never know what that meant to the person you reached out to. That is the good stuff in life. The really good stuff!
I hope you have a fantastic weekend!
I’ll be back Tuesday with another Tasty Tuesday!
No act of kindness no matter how small is ever wasted. ~Aesop