Sincerely yours, C. D. Gibson…
This past Friday, my husband Barry and I took one of our annual, getaway, one-day trips just about an hour or so West into Massachusetts to one of our favorite places, Brimfield, MA.
In Brimfield, held 3 times/year, is the famous Brimfield Antique Show, a destination to 250,000+ visitors each session, 20,000 vendors and often called “the largest flea market in the world.”
Over the decades, Barry and I have found everything, always bargains, from antique tables and chairs (that we still have after decades of kids and now grandkids!), art, a 1940’s delivery bike (that comes with its own story and that we still have!), quirky little things because we’re kinda quirky, gifts for people, and last year, hand-crafted, re-purposed kitchen chairs and stools for our new, renovated kitchen…
I always note what Barry and I may be looking for before we head to Brimfield’s because it’s so very easy to lose ourselves in the awesomeness of just about everything.
Key Words: FOCUS!
This year, our list/notes included “small, interesting art” and a “trellis” for the exterior of our house.
We saw many, many trellises of all sizes, ages, prices and designs, but none that struck us enough to bring one home.
BUT the small, interesting art item is another story. (I will add here that I recently received the most wonderful compliment from my daughter-in-law Nicole when she told me that she loves that everything in our home has its own story. Barry and I are so moved with Nicole’s love of our family, our home, our stuff… and we love her, too!)
Barry and I were perusing one of the thousands of booths. It was early, like 7:30-ish am early…
Parking is excellent, over acres of land, but even at that early hour, it was packed and busy with cars and people. Barry headed into our first tent, a pop-up one, and I followed him. He was intent upon looking at something (maybe for Father’s Day gifts for special men in our lives. I won’t tell!).
I began to search through all kinds of interesting, unique things on many, many tables, but kept coming back to a small, black-framed handwritten note. I could decipher “Sincerely yours,” but not the signature.
Barry could find only ONE of the items he wanted of the FIVE he needed.
That’s Brimfield’s! Luck is a big part of good finds.
I put down the little note, Barry made his purchase of ONE and we moved on and on and on.
Dozens of vendors, probably hundreds, were in that small section of Brimfield’s… we browsed, then decided to move to another section of the acres and acres and more acres. As we were leaving that section, we passed that first tent and Barry spotted another of the things he wanted.
In fact, there were 4 more. They had been stored under a table, but these were really the only ones left. He scooped them up. Serendipitous, to say the least.
I, of course, went in search of that black-framed note. I found it and asked the vendor, a very, very nice, helpful, passionate-about-his stuff guy, about the signature that I could not decipher.
He smiled and said that this was one of his favorite finds of all times. The note is very old, preserved under museum-quality glass and written by C. D. Gibson ~ Charles Dana Gibson. Charles Dana Gibson’s pen and ink illustrations of what he thought intelligent, lovely, independent women appeared in Harper’s Weekly in the 1890’s and would lead to Gibson’s great fame…
I said, “You mean THE Gibson of THE GIBSON GIRL fame?”
The vendor was very happy that I knew the reference.
I told him that I lived in Bristol, RI, home of the estate that the Gibson family owned. I also know that he married the former Irene Langhorne, sister of Lady Nancy Astor and 3 other sisters, who became some of the muses for Gibson’s Gibson Girl.
A nearly by street is named Gibson Street. I pass by this estate and this street every day.
I told the vendor that I love the story of the hand of this note, even if we don’t know whom Gibson was addressing with his Sincerely yours.
Hey, it could be me!
Price? $50.00 bucks. Seemed kinda steep. Went into negotiation mode. The guy smiled most sincerely and said that the price was fair and firm.
I bought it.
SO Barry and I walked away with FIVE of Barry’s “things” and ONE nice find.
Saturday morning, I was up early, wiping he museum glass clean and ready to hang our Gibson find, a place where I just knew it should be…
In our kitchen, at the front-side door with 2 other things that I treasure and where I can explain some of life’s things to our 11, soon-to-be 12, grandkids ~ some very simple, “sincerely yours” truths, actually…
There are people of great talent, like C. D. Gibson (1867 – 1944), whom maybe through a combination of inspiration and a some very good luck are able to create wealth beyond belief and fame beyond expectation. If a person’s gifted hands and heart are sincere, though, that is very, very good…
There are people of great talent, like my late father-in-law Joe Couto (1944 – 1998), whose gifts as a drummer brought him local fame in Rhode Island and even to New York City, but by day Joe was a bottle washer at Narragansett Brewery to bring in enough steady income to support his wife and 3 boys. This vintage Narragansett Beer label is a treasure to us, a beautiful reminder of Joe. If a person’s gifted hands and heart are sincere, that is very, very good…
Because in the long run of our lives, there is not much more sincerely true than this treasure ~ a masterpiece by photographer Alexander Nesbitt of a sign painted above a stall in the Maasi craft market, Arusha, Tanzania 2010 ~ Tips About Money…
Yes, I think C. D. Gibson, Joe Couto and these Tips About Money are 3 very similar life’s keys on 3 very different places on life’s monetary spectrum.
A very sincerely perfect little lesson for my grandkids.
And a very fun, small, interesting art find at Brimfield’s this year!