The Ancient Ones used to sit on a scale on the the bureau in the foyer of my grandparent’s house. Grandma had it set so the woman outweighed the man. I never thought about that until I just wrote that sentence. Considering how many years she had to fend for herself and the men in her life let her down, it makes sense that she would consider the woman to be more important.
The Ancient Ones were incredibly important to my grandma and because of that, they became important to me as well. I suffer nagging guilt knowing that I am personally responsible for breaking the woman figurine three times. I know Stacey, my sister, broke one as well. I remember Grandma bending over the woman figurine with Superglue many times.
After Grandma died, Grandpa moved the scale to the piano, but it sat there empty and weighing only dust.
I didn’t get a good picture of the last remaining Ancient One. I snapped a photo of needlework that my grandma had created. It hung on the wall in the living room, and to the left of the needlework, there was a wall sconce. On it, sat the last remaining Ancient One. Just like my grandfather left alone after my grandma died, this half of a matched pair sat alone in the house in Billings. I only noticed him in the photo when I was home and transferring the pictures from my camera to the computer. I wish I had realized he was there when I was in Billings. I would have taken a better picture.
It kills me that I have no control over who will get the last Ancient One. It even scares me that he might end up in an estate sale. Since I have absolutely no say in what goes where, I am aching to know that he might be lost forever and I didn’t even get a good picture of him.
While I was writing the eulogy and preparing the photographs for the board at the funeral home, Stacey and my Uncle Danny slaved away cleaning my grandpa’s house. When Stacey cleaned out the basement, she found my grandma’s stash of McCall’s craft magazines and yarn patterns. I rescued them from the garbage bin and took them home to Salt Lake City. I looked through them last month and mixed in with them was this catalog from Home Interiors and Gift. It’s dated 1962, but amazingly, the company is still in business today.
On page 12, I sat on my couch amazed. Here is what I saw:
The ceramic pair are labeled “The Ancient Ones.” For less than five dollars a pair, my grandmother, bought The Ancient Ones from an interior decorating company that sold their products like Tupperware to women in the sixties.
It’s so strange to see what I consider a family heirloom in a catalog. It feels so very precious to me, yet back in 1962, you could just order as many of them as you wanted. In fact, my grandma must have ordered several sets because I KNOW I broke one beyond repair. My grandma was an antique collector, so I guess in my childish mind, I assumed EVERYTHING she owned was an antique. I guess not. Some of it was just tchotchke.