April 16, 2010

The Hidden Treasure...

I found this Secretary Desk at the Goodwill not too long ago.
It was on a dolly and they were just bringing it out on the floor!
The paint was chipping and it was missing the legs and I wasn't sure where I would put it...
but I grabbed it up...there was just something so lovely about it...and it was only $25!

Isn't she beautiful?
 The front opens up perfectly...
 The doors are covered in chicken wire...
The top has beautiful detailing...

And the removable insert is still intact  (many are missing from these old desks!)



After getting the desk home I began to examine it more closely...That is when I pulled out the insert to find a hidden treasure...and envelope was lodged behind it...could it be the thousands of dollars that Grandma had stashed away years ago?...

NO OF COURSE NOT...

But there were three large old  index cards inside the envelope that were hand written on.

The writings explained all about the painting of the desk, the process used, how she had not quite completed it and detailed instructions for doing so.  She wrote how her dad had moved the desk in when the rain was pouring and one of the legs came off.  The logical place to put it, she wrote, would have been in one of the drawers, but dad has no idea where he put it and she has looked everywhere for it.  She knew the paint was beginning to crack and peel and apologized for not being able to repair it.  Then she wrote this...

It says, "Did you find my mongram on the front pull down drawer leaf hidden among the flowers?  This was Effie's secretary.  I took it even before she dies but she never saw what I did to it."

And there is her monogram, just where she said it was...Can you see it?


"MLM" right there in the center of her tole painting...I don't know her name, she didn't sign the cards...
but her brief writings caused me to know her nonetheless.

You can see for yourself that the paint is cracking and peeling...and there are some unfinished spots...but one can easily look past these flaws and see the beauty in the piece.  And after all, don't these imperfections just offer more character?  Indeed they do!

But the day will come when the yellow will no longer  match with my decor and the cracking and peeling will be defects rather than just "character".
My husband forsees this day coming rather soon and looks towards restaining or painting it.  He is probably right...
But it is hard to strip away the  history and the story of  "MLM" and her creative labor, especially when you realize how hard she worked on it.
I know however; with all things the memories are not in the object no matter what monetary worth it may possess or the amount of hours it took to create it.
The memories, although initially generated from the handiwork, remain because of the story behind the creator;  her spirit and motivation.
We may hold on to a quilt that is falling to pieces because of the recollection it triggers and the warmth it seems to give our soul, but the truth is...after the quilt is gone..the feelings are forever captured in our hearts.

 

46 comments:

Pam said...

This piece is gorgeous and the hand written notes are a treasure too.
Pam

Lori said...

what an amazing find Carrie...good for you:)...have a beautiful weekend!!!

nancygrayce said...

What a beautiful piece and how great of her to write it's history! A real treasure! I do think the peeling paint gives it character!

Twyla and Lindsey said...

Oh Carrie, what a treasure you found! I got goosebumps as I read this lovely story and the obvious car of this woman who painted it. I wish you could leave it like this for always because it is so lovely and her artwork is so worthy. Have a nice weekend! Twyla

Holly- Girls At Heart said...

Oh how incredibly cool!

I just recently hid a message and a dollar bill behind one of my kitchen cabniets! Hee- hee!

sandra said...

It is sooo beautiful. Leave it as is!

Cindy (Letters From Midlife) said...

It is a treasure and to have the cards telling about it makes it all the more special.

Creative Breathing said...

Carrie, Once a month you must put this post back at the top! Can you believe this find yourself? Pinch! Don't you wish you knew why this person was giving this away? She tucked that note there knowing someone very special would find it, and they did! THIS is a HAPPY day! E

Diane said...

Carrie, The pictures are lovely and I must say it was just a beauty in person, I think Hubby might have to think of something else to paint, she must remain the same! Hugs, Diane

Caroline said...

What a great post, beautiful furniture too! The letter...
like magic!
What a great story!
Hope it will last for just a little bit longer than you thought! The painting is stunning, she really spent some time on this piece!
Thank you for sharing.
Love
Caroline

Sandra said...

What a wonderful find and a treasure because you know its history...lucky you!

Tracy said...

What an awesome piece and what an incredible discovery you made in that note. Wow!

Leslie said...

WOW Carrie, the peice and the story is awesome. I love how that note made it so personal. I am sure that you will treasure it.

Happy Saturday

Deb said...

what a treasure you have there...the note cards are so cool

Lee Laurie said...

This piece is beautiful and to have found these notes, just added to the beauty of it.

Kissed by an Angel said...

That is so pretty!! To find the notes too, amazing!!!
xxxx

Secondhandrose said...

I love a mystery! Isn't that why we hunt? What a great piece.

karen

Couture de Papier said...

Beautiful unique find a treasure!

Helena - A Diary of Lovely said...

amazing, one never expects to find something like this. so sweet
let us know what you decide to do :)

koralee said...

So so lovely...you are blessed to have this piece and know more about it...hugs and enjoy. xox

grammy said...

She is so pretty
that is an amazing story
25bucks
I need to look at thrift stores more often (o:
Thanks for sharing the pictures

The Garden Bell said...

If that isn't a treasure for 25.00 I don't know what is. Great find.

Just a little something from Judy said...

I wish that I could follow you on your little jaunts. You find the best things. This is one beautiful find, notes and all. Just seeing that long handwritten note made me smile. I can't believe this was 25.oo...lucky you!

Pen Pen said...

Carrie, no way could you ever paint over that sweet lady's beautiful work. That cabinet is one of the prettiest I've seen! And the cards make it priceless!!! What a find!

Amber said...

I'm so inlove with that piece!!!! Your so lucky!!!

Protector of Vintage said...

What a beautiful piece of furniture and to find that letter is so neat!! Thank you for stopping by my blog. I have become a follower and can tell that I"m going to learn a lot!! Take care~

Kitschalicious said...

Thanks for coming by my blog and following!

I love this piece! It is quite gorgeous and what a treasure to find the history behind it.

Wendy said...

I love the shape of that piece!

And how neat that you found those cards.

sweetsue said...

I don't blame you for not wanting to paint such a beautiful piece. Thank you for stopping by and leaving me a comment. I like to find blogs from local folk too. Sometimes I google blogspots + Oregon to see what blogs come up. I especially like garage sale and thrift store blogs.

Lydia said...

Thanks for stopping by and becoming my newest follower!:)
Hi Carrie,

I think for $25- many would not have passed it up! I would antique it. Either with her instructions, or with something else like a 1 step crackle, then antiquing gel. Hers is probably cheaper....or...paint another color around the decor. It might take a little time, but I think that it would be well worth it. Then again, you may adore it forever antigued??

What a great story! Nice to meet you:)
Lydia

Terri said...

what a beautiful treasure! 25 bucks! I love finding things like that. Terri

Kari said...

What a sweetheart of a desk! All that work too, I don't think I could do it. AND she left information on the piece, that's amazing! Thanks for following and the words of encouragement on quitting!!:)
Following you back of course.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Hi Carrie,
I am over from Lorena's blog; Rose Chic Friends. What a wonderful find! Thank you for the story behind it. I so enjoyed reading about it. Twenty-five dollars; wow! You got yourself a real treasure! I am following you now. Would love to have you stop by. Have a beautiful week.

Blessings,
Sandi

Sharlotte said...

Hi Carrie,
What a lovely post...and what a treasure you've found! I just love this piece and of course all the character is holds. Thanks so much for sharing and visiting my blog!
Sharlotte

Sara's Sweet Surprise said...

Hello Carrie~It took a minute to revive myself...you see I've been on the hunt for a Secretary desk for a very l-o-n-g time. What a jewel you've found! The way you put into words the feelings behind the previous owners note was so eloquent.
You will be creating your own memories to add to the charming history.


I need some input...My son has some business associates that are thinking of relocating their business to Portland. Being that I live in Vancouver I'm not familiar with all the areas, as far as nice/affordable places to live. My son and DIL are coming down from Seattle to show them around. I would appreciate any recommendations for places to visit and any possible areas to look for prospective (rental) housing. They'll also be looking for a store front to rent. I'd appreciate any info.

Sweet wishes,
Sara

Angela said...

Oh my!!!!!!!!!!! I adore it! loving the splashes of red on the inside too.

scribbler-unfocused said...

How beautifully you express yourself in words! As a writer myself, I love it when I see it.

The desk is pretty, too.
Scribbler

Pieceful Bits said...

Gorgeous!!! I would not be able to refinish it. That's just me. I think the note you found makes it worth so much more than finding $1,000. I guess I'm sentimental <3
Lucky you
(~~)
Julie

Deborah said...

Oh Carrie, this is all so beautiful...the painting, the hidden letter, your words! De-Lovely!

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

This is the kind of thing that only happens in young adult mystery novels...the hidden letter, the artist whose work remains a treasure for the world to cherish, the beautiful painting with the secret initials hidden therein! What a thrill to find this amazing piece of history. I hope you'll be able to keep it as is; it just seems the perfect work of art to have and hold! Thanks for sharing this!
Coralie

Lisa said...

AWESOME!!!! How cool and at goodwill!! No way I would get anything that cool here! Ours wants more for broken put together furniture than Wal-mart does for it new!
Enjoy!!
Hugs, Lisa

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

Carrie, this sent chills up my spine. You should write the editior of Romantic Homes magazine and share this story with them.

What a lovely and very special piece. It was meant to be yours!!

Celebrate the day,
Becky

lvailgal said...

Carrie, it is beautiful...I too love finding old treasures and making them my own...it's like they have a hidden past that I am now in someway a part of.

Sheri said...

I just stumbled up on your blog and I love it! So happy to see this secretary desk painted like it is. We have one in the family and I've always wanted to do that but was afraid it would take away from the original piece of furniture. After seeing yours I have changed my mind. It looks spectacular! Think I'll give it a try.

Dianne said...

What an amazing find for you! I love it. The colors are soothing and great. Even more special to now know the history behind it...

Catherine said...

This is a nice story and a nice piece of furniture. It was so cheap, you are lucky!it's nice to have found the letter's explainations. Good day, Catherine

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