Crossing the world with a stranger

Liégeois Sylvain, Place du Marché 27, Battice, Belgium.
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I’m a small town girl and would never have experienced world travel had I not met the most wonderful couple in a thrift store.  Girls like me aren’t fortunate enough to experience the finest things in life but today all of that changed, if only for an hour or two.

As I walked in it’s grungy doors my eyes were immediately drawn to the “collectibles” department where the isles were freshly restocked.  There was very expensive pieces of pottery, dishes and ceramics, each having a makers mark from all parts of the world.  There were Starbucks mugs from several different states, some had dates, others were holiday mugs.   After inspecting all of them I realized they all came from the same place and  as I toured the store I realized that these were the the belongings of an elderly couple whose  remnants told a story of great love, extensive travel and what I perceived to be a very sudden and sad ending..   but the story in and of itself was one of the most beautiful stories that could ever be told.

As a young couple, they loved to travel.  They vacationed under the stars in Paris, enjoyed fresh baked pastries in Venice, raced down the slopes of Switzerland on ski’s and traveled the Ryfylke Tourist Route in Norway.  Each piece of pottery, every souvenir dish, ashtray and mug, terrine, and figurine  that I examined took me further and further away from my own little town and it was then that I can honestly say was the only time I’ve ever experienced true love.   They weren’t just a couple.  They were more than just traveling companions.   The story I was able to quietly and peacefully put together in my mind was that two people who were very much in love, were friends, partners, confidants, and lived only for each other in every moment of their time together.  The more I looked at on the shelves, the more their story unfolded.

As time went on and age began to set in,  their travels became  closer to home but not after many years of world travel and luxurious stays.  As a young couple, they were married in California.  They honeymooned in Paris and threw a key in the canal.  Shortly after the honeymoon they relocated from California to Florida, I think it was after an earthquake.    At one point they went to Africa but something went wrong and they didn’t stay long.  They flew back to Europe by way of Germany where they drank beer from steins.

As time moved on, beer turned into wine for her and liqueur for him.  I think he drank much more than she did.  His collection of tumblers was far more extensive than her carafe and glass collection.  I think she was sick.  Not in her mind, but physically.  For this he pampered her and took the best of care of her until the end of her life.  She lived a happy life.  She never needed for anything, only her health, but that wasn’t until later, after many years of marriage.  He probably drover her insane LOL.

It wasn’t until after his passing that I discovered this great love affair.  An affluent couple who really lived life.  They didn’t just go through the motions as so many couples do, they LIVED.

My senses felt alive, I experienced great love, overwhelming joy and in the end, was overcome with the sadness of their parting from this world.  I believe she passed before he did, probably explains the extensive liqueur accessories collection.  Regardless of the way it ended, their life story gave me an insight to something I’m sure I will never experience in my own life and I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit with them.  They shared a love that few people ever get to experience.

I took home a souvenir from my travels from California, to Florida, across Europe, down to Africa and back across the United States…  It was made in France and was purchased in Belgium at some point between the mid 1960s to 1970s. I can envision her face lighting up with joy and smiling at her husband as she finds her treasure at Liégeois Sylvain. I know she loved it. She took good care of it.

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I know she’s used it at least once because there was a bit of gravy stuck to the bottom. The inside of it is glazed so it cleaned up real easy. No chips, no stains, no cracks. Only an old gold colored sticker on the base. Liégeois Sylvain, Place du Marché 27, Battice, Belgium.

For as many times as I have shopped at thrift stores,  this is the first time I have ever experienced someone else’s life through their discarded belongs.  As tragic as their ending may have, their memory has created a moment that will forever live on through my minds eye.

Yeah…  I did sell it on eBay.  The memories can’t be sold though.

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