Some of my clients know about the first big estate I came into when I was just getting started in the vintage fashion business. The home was owned by a woman named Jean, who had no family to pass anything on to. I worked closely with the estate dealer and bought all of Jean's clothing and accessories, jewelry, shoes, hats and more. After the sale, however, I discovered boxes and boxes of letters, greeting cards and photos in the attic that no one wanted. I found the newspaper article about her wedding to Bob along with the wedding invitation, and realized I actually had her wedding dress- something I didn't peg for a wedding dress at first, as it is a 1920s brown silk velvet dress with cloche hat! I found photos of other pieces of clothing that I had of hers, including a dress she wore in a photo as a teenager from the 1910s.
All of which I have kept, as a surrogate grandchild of sorts, because it seemed wrong for all of it to just be thrown away. Jean wasn't a hoarder in the way we see on television, but a keeper of things she loved. Of memories. Things were clean and well kept, orderly. From reading her letters, it seems that is the way she lived as well.
One of the main reasons I do what I do is to preserve and breathe new life into things people saved because they were important to them. Yet, I find myself much like Jean- hanging on to all of her things, meaning well, but never giving them a chance at a new life. I've had people encourage me to make them into a book but there are quite literally hundreds of letters and cards and photos and the time it would take to write a book just with the hopes someone would publish it seems like rather a gamble and a lot of time to invest without anyone ending up seeing any of them.
So today I will start sharing them with the world. I haven't even read them all- and should anything be too risqué or personal to share I certainly will not. I'm kind of excited to see where this goes and hope there will be readers and feedback! Jean and Bob deserve it.