Sunday, August 09, 2009

Meet Jean

In Spring of 2006 I was called to a home to view some clothing left as part of the estate of a woman who had recently passed. Inspired by a comment made by Elena in my blog post about Maureen, I decided to delve into my MySpace blogs about Jean and re-publish them here. In retrospect it was truly the turning moment in my career....the buy that enabled me to make selling vintage a full time job and reaffirmed my love of vintage and the stories that come with it. Many of the clothing pieces are long ago sold, with the exception of a few I couldn't part with. All the correspondence and photos stay here in boxes with her wedding dress, hat and shoes...right here in the closet of my office. Jean has become almost like a family member to me and her things will stay with me always.

With that, this is the first of several past blog entries I will be sharing here. This is from May 24, 2006.

This is Jean's Story...
As a matter of business, selling vintage clothing, I was recently called to come look at a woman's clothing....a woman who had recently passed away at the age of 99. When I got to the home, it was still in entire lifetime of contents, saved by a woman who obviously cared very much about them. The house was simply FULL....doors had been made impossible to open, closets jam attic, a basement. Memories everywhere.
Memories that there was no one left to cherish. Jean lived a long life.....outliving her husband, Robert, by 25 years. Twenty five years she lived in that house, alone. With all the things that she and Bob loved.....and now, there was no one to care.
Jean never had children....had one brother, Fred, who married yet also had no children. There simply was no family left at all. And so, while a business move indeed to just buy ALL of the clothing (and what wonderful things there are!), I also have taken on one couple's lifetime. The very fiber of their lives is quite literally in my possession. As I began to go through the things.....dresses, blouses, hats, skirts, shoes, lingerie, handbags, belts.....mens ties, shirts, suits, hats....I began to really sense their prescence. I began to get a rough outline of who they were, what they liked, what they spent their time doing. What colors they liked, what fabrics they chose....what era's were times they went out & socialized....what they were comfortable at home in.
And in doing so, I started to find myself wanting to know MORE. So I asked the people running the estate liquidation for pictures.....started with a few, went back for more. I found pictures of Jean in dresses I have....coats I have, shoes that are here. I found pictures of them having great Halloween parties in the 40s.....outings with their folks....travelling in the 30s.
My fascination, and sense of needing to make sure these people were not simply FORGOTTEN, drove me back to the house again to ask for the letters.....SO many letters and cards, boxes and BOXES in the attic! Which were, of course, going to be thrown away. I came home with perhaps hundreds....and have more coming, as well as Jean's diaries.
Perhaps one of the most special finds... a puzzle put together.....has been a beautiful late 20s brown velvet suit dress with a lace blouse. It was stored in the attic in a small steamer trunk, with the matching shoes & small cloche hat. It wasnt until I started going through some things destined for the dumpster that I found a newspaper article about Jean & Robert's wedding, in 1929....and in it, Jean is described in that very ensemble. Soon after that, quite by accident, I came upon an actual invitation to the wedding.. one given to Robert's parents! Its is lovely and classically Art Deco. Moreover, it is lovely that all these things found their way back to each other....and into the hands of someone who cannot bear to see them be forgotten by time.
I intend to document the process of getting to know Jean share the experience, to make sure she matters. My page is pretty well devoted to vintage is my business and passion. What I share will often be geared toward clothing, but just as often not. I hope people who stumble upon this, that love vintage clothing, also have a respect for the lives and the people that wore the clothing before found it. I will showcase pieces I wont be selling, and some I of Jean, her family, snippets of letters.....who knows what I will come across!
And so, this is Jean's story. Jean Thayer Boone....a life lived stylishly.


elena said...

ang! i am so excited that you are doing this...looking so forward to hearing more about jean...this is making me miss my grandma all the more...
how wonderful that you were able to get so many pieces of her life...and more so...that you thought it worthy enough to take the time to share her life...
elena @ fabulous finds

Ang said...

thanks, Elena....its been nice to revisit it! It truly was a once in a lifetime chance to come across so much of one person's personal affects. I read and read and read the letters and when they ended I wished for more!


Denise @ Swelle said...

Wow, what a wonderful trove of treasures. I love stories such as these. It reminds me that my attachment to things is indeed meaningful! Please continue to share!

Denise x

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