Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pteromys volucella

(Once again, I apologize for the horrible photographs!)

Sometimes thrifting makes me sad, but then I am a sucker for the underdog, the forgotten, the abused, discarded and the sentimental.

A few examples:

*My obsession with old religious ceremony certificates (I just cannot fathom how a family could dispose of them!)

*Animals hanging out near or in the road. My mom has a giant, fluffy grey cat I rescued from a Very Busy interstate. I saw this little fluff near the median barrier and thought, "Did I just see a kitten?" I left the highway at the next exit, drove the opposite way to the exit on that side, drove back to where I thought I had seen the fluff, parked on the side of the highway (with my emergency blinkers on, of course!) and quickly dodged semi traffic to find a (fortunately) unscathed 6-7 week old kitten. I grabbed it, re-dodged traffic and he has now been living with my mom for about 5 years. I also have a soft spot for turtles (and saw two box turtles today!)

*Even before the current trends, knitted or crocheted blankets. I have several, plus handmade quilts and I use them.

*Books with hand-written notes from the giver to the recipient. It's hard to hold on to everything, but I do wonder why some things get donated to thrift stores.

And this brings me to my case-in-point. Today I was late getting back to the office and knew traffic would be a bear. I decided to stop at a (slightly claustrophobic) GW near the entrance to the express way and kill time enough to allow the first flush of traffic to flow through the city. I looked through the book bins (50c a book) and then went inside. Almost immediately I spotted a framed Audubon print with flying squirrels. I love nature and had seen something similar at a flea market recently. I picked it up and noted it was $5. Hmmm, a bit salty for something I don't really need...

A side note, isn't it funny how $5-10 can seem expensive at a thrift or yard sale, yet I know with shipping I pay more than this for items on Ebay. I also shell out at least this for a decent lunch. Actually, even fast food is at least $5 for a meal. And, don't even get me started on my coffee addiction!

OK, where was I? Oh, so I put it back, but then I picked it up again. I turned it over and noted an inscription:

To my granddaughter Hannah Sarfield from her grandfather Taylor Hay (and his
wife Joanne) on Christmas 2000. This hung at the Scotland Farm. With Love, Pa
Taylor Hay

Awww! Now by the time I came along to my older parents (I was one of a younger group of children born when they were in their 30's and 40's), my grandparents were almost all dead. The only living one, my paternal grandfather, was a stranger to me since I only can remember seeing him maybe two times. Once he gave me a ball point pen with the name of a lumber mill in Pikeville, KY. He said, 'I hear you are good in school..." Then he walked over to a gorgeous armoire and fished around until he found the pen. Nothing special, but I still have the pen! We also called him "Pa" (I think it is a Southern thing).

So, as I was looking at the flying squirrels print (which I also thought was pretty neat), I wondered why Hannah gave it to GW. Did she have lots of things Pa Hay gave her and it was to a point she just had way too much? Did she have bitter memories of him? Maybe he passed on and the memory hurts. Maybe (gasp!) she just thought the print was junk!!!

This particular GW is in the wealthy county in KY. I find many, many high end brand name clothing there, modern knick knacks and current books. I rarely find vintage things let along lithograph prints from the late 1800's. I decided to buy the print. I really like it and wondered if it really came from Scotland (I have Scottish ancestory).

I Googled "Taylor Hay" when I got home and found this interview. Amazing what one can learn from a discarded object and the Internet.

Taylor Hay (and, thus Hannah) are descendants of one of the original Buffalo Trace distillery founders (then call Old Taylor Brand Whisky)! Scotland Farm is the original Kentucky homestead bought by Colonel E. H. Taylor when he began the distillery. If you have time to kill, listen to Pa Hay tell the story of his grandfather. It is sad that Hannah didn't treasure this gift from her own grandfather (the Colonel's namesake) who, along with his wife JoAnne, are obviously very interested in history (so this gift would have been from both his heart and mind). Perhaps he usually just gave the family Bourbon & money and was disowned by Hannah when all she received in 2000 was some old squirrel picture.

Well, whatever the story, I love it and will hang it up with pride. The odd thing is my own maternal great-great grandmother was a Hay, but, as far as I know, I don't believe she came from KY (and she was Native American and not Scottish). No matter, I'll just pretend (like I do with the religious certificates) that I am related to the Buffalo Trace Bourbon folks! Hey, Pa, thanks for the history lesson and the wonderful keepsake from Scottland Farm! :)


Rebecca said...

What a great story! Isn't it amazing how you could research it and know it's history? I think it's wonderful that you have it now. It's still treasured. :)

Gina said...

Hi Rebecca! Yes, I will treasure it. I think it is amazing too-no secrets today, huh? :)

I also have a limited edition landscape print (numbered) with an inscription from the artist to a U. S. senator on the back!

outjunking said...

Gina, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment, some how it has disappear with the last post I did on how I drop and broke the glass in one of the horse pictures you liked. I share your enthusiasm for the story behind the items bought, the squirrel picture is great, good buy also.