Monday, October 29, 2018

Old Things

Current concerns about global warming tell me in no uncertain terms that the carbon price of an object is one that each of us will pay, so I'm looking at existing artifacts with less demanding eyes. There's a school of domestic furnishing that appreciates the look of accumulation over time. It doesn't much matter where or when things were acquired. One of my most-admired artifacts is a modest painted china cabinet that holds pride of place in the family room of a noted physicist. It belonged to his parents. At the other end of the usual scale was Uncle Larry's armchair. As I was making myself comfortable in it for the first time, he casually mentioned that he had had it for years before realizing it was Hepplewhite, real Hepplewhite.

One of my beloved mentors built a significant collection of Asian art by shopping on Grant Avenue with her husband, he of the keenest of eyes. Over a beer at the beach one summer, Betty mentioned that they had taken their works to secure storage before leaving on vacation. I flinched slightly at the necessity and the inconvenience, and she said gently, "Don't worry. No one will ever take the things you value most." She said this shortly after her husband had approached me with a crust of verdigris on his flat and extended palm, momentarily convincing me that the fragment of logging junk was ancient bronze -30-

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